The Consumer Council is concerned that bus users continued to face risks from unsafe buses on Fiji’s roads.
This comes after a passenger-carrying bus, Raiwaqa Buses Limited caught fire in the capital on Monday (24/06/13) and another bus averted a similar fate in Nasole, Nasinu today (25/06/13).
The Council is again calling on the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to pull buses out from our roads to ensure passenger safety.
The Council is concerned that even though there are guidelines set by LTA on the standards for bus operators to follow, problems such as bus fires still occur. This is apart from the, electrical/mechanical faults, constant mechanical breakdowns, smoke emission and, poor seating conditions.
For instance, last year LTA launched the Quality Assurance Management System Manual for bus operators to follow. The manual, stipulates when a bus needs mechanical repairs and the timeline for the next bus servicing. Through this manual bus operators are expected to monitor and conduct regular and thorough checks on their buses to ensure road worthiness and safety.
The Council urges LTA to revoke route license of such operators who are not complying with a very basic requirement which is passenger safety. Having a guideline for bus operators to follow is not sufficient. Bus companies must learn from 2008 horrific incident where 12 passengers lost their lives.
The Council believes that bus companies who have high incidents of bus fires, mechanical breakdowns, smoke emissions; etc should be put on notice by the LTA. The LTA should also publicize information on these companies so that the public is aware of the high risk operators.
The Council reiterates that buses in dilapidated conditions must be written off immediately rather than attempting to consistently repair it. Bus companies are reminded of their social responsibility and should be held accountable for such incidents.
Chief Executive Officer