Fatma el Shenawy
Students involved in the Family Transport bus accidents that took place last week met with VP for Planning and Administration Brian MacDougall on Monday Oct. 3 to discuss progress of the investigation on the accidents.
Attendees of the meeting were students present on the R7 (Giza) bus, which was involved in the accident on Sept. 28 along with other students that take the R1 (Maadi) bus, which was also involved in a separate accident on the same day. The accidents resulted in no causalities.
Students that were on the R7 bus accident recalled how the accident took place:
“There was sufficient distance between the bus and the cars around it. However, the driver kept moving right and left, which made me feel there was something wrong with the bus brakes, and that made me panic,” said Mai Gamal, one of the students on the bus and the initiator of this meeting.
This differed to what had been previously reported as to the cause of the accident, where the coordinator of the international student affairs office and passenger on the bus Ibrahim Bedrous stated, “The driver, Ahmed Magdi, was driving fast on the left lane and a wood loaded truck was swinging in front of him. He tried to avoid it, but he accidently hit two cars in the process.”
During the meeting with MacDougall, one of the students explained how she feels her safety is being jeopardized and ignored.
“I don’t feel safe taking the 8:45 am bus, since this driver always drives too fast. What is the short-term solution?” asked Mai Gamal.
MacDougall’s reply was, “The short-term solution is if students believe it’s unsafe to ride the bus, then don’t ride the bus.”
The students were advised to attend the weekly transport committee meeting on Tuesday where the Director of Transportation Services Sherif Sadek would answer their questions.
During the committee meeting held on Tuesday, Sadek explained, “The buses rely on electric circuit, and the hit (from the accident) came on the battery, which caused everything in the bus to cut down, including brakes and doors which had to be opened manually.”
“It was not a problem with the breaks,” assured MacDougall mentioning that investigations are currently taking place.
Sadek also blamed the driver for reckless driving.
“The bus driver was for sure responsible for the accident, but the percentage of his responsibility is still a matter of investigation and appropriate measures will be taken against the bus driver,” he added.
Sadek also insisted that messages should be checked for their reliability before being broadcasted, as he received messages that said the R7 bus turned upside down in Agouza. Another message stated that armed personnel attacked R7 bus, none of which were true.
When students asked about the maintenance of the buses, Sadek insisted that the maintenance is the responsibility of the service provider, Family Transport.
He added that it is not a periodical process.
“Maintenance of the buses is based on the mileage,” said Sadek.
According to issues discussed in meetings held regarding transportation, the university has announced that it is facing a lot of problems with Family Transport. These issues of service quality are to be discussed over the next few weeks by the transport committee, which includes student representatives as well staff from the administration.
It is anticipated that the committee will have its report ready on Nov. 1 to be presented to the public.