CAPTION: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar.
The Consumer Council is concerned over the negative attitude of some bus drivers towards bus users.
The Council has noted consumers voicing their concerns in the local dailies as well as calling our offices to relate their experiences with bus drivers and bus services in general. Recently in the Fiji Times, ‘Letters to the Editor’ column (08/06), an elderly consumer raised her frustrations after being rudely spoken to by the bus driver after the e-ticketing machine was not working and was refused entry into the bus.
The Council finds this attitude appalling especially as LTA has advised that if the e-ticketing machine is not working than consumers can board the bus free of charge.
Similarly, over the weekend, the Fiji Sun’s Your Say column (15/06) recorded another elderly consumer raising his frustration after being rudely spoken to by a bus driver, when all he did was request for a bus ticket.
Consumers have a right to demand for bus tickets/receipts. So why are bus drivers creating a fuss and causing embarrassment in front of other passengers?
In another case a woman had to travel by a taxi to reach her workplace because the bus driver refused entry. She had a smartcard which she could not use and the driver did not have change for $10. She paid more than $10 for her taxi fare. When this case was reported to the bus company, they not only offered an apology for the driver’s inappropriate behavior but also refunded her taxi fare. This bus company acted responsibly to provide redress to the complainant.
Based on the above cases, it is clear that despite the existence of a Code of Conduct for public service vehicle (PSV) drivers, consumers are still facing problem with bus drivers. Service mentality that should be paramount in a service sector is lacking in some bus drivers.
There is a need for formal training of bus drivers on customer service on a regular basis, after all the bus driver represents the bus company. It is a shame that elderly citizens of our country have to encounter such situations just because of some arrogant bus drivers.
The Council reiterates that consumers pay a price to travel in buses and the last thing they expect is to be chased out of a bus, especially when a consumer is not at fault.