CAPTION: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.
The Consumer Council of Fiji is further disappointed by the reasoning given by Land Transport Authority (LTA) CEO, Naisa Tuinaceva and the Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA) in relation to the bus fires. (FT 3/7/13)
Mr Tuinaceva commented that buses are inspected on a six-monthly or yearly basis and that stringent standards are in place.
However, the Council is of the opinion that there is a need to review the inspection timeframe especially after an increase in the number of bus fires. Bus services are used on a daily basis and regular bus inspections should be considered which will avoid unnecessary mishaps. At the same time, LTA should frequently check whether the fire extinguishers are actually functional and placed in all buses as required.
With bus fires repeatedly occurring, the Council is interested to know if the standards in place are in fact “stringent” as claimed by the LTA. Furthermore, the Council is appalled with the comment made by the Fiji Bus Operators Association, Acting President Mr. Parmod Chand that “accidents do happen”.
This does not mean that bus fires should be accepted by consumers as something that is bound to occur when they board a bus. Consumers do not expect fires on board buses.
The Council believes that the bus industry is attempting to divert attention away from the real issues that bus users face in regards to their health and safety.
Why should consumers be worried about Raiwaqa Buses Limited huge investment in fleet replacement? It is disappointing that Mr. Chand is more concerned about RBL’s investment issues rather than consumer safety which is more paramount. Bus operators should not be making money by placing a consumers’ life at risk.
The Council reiterates that LTA must take a tougher stance and simply cancel route licenses while FBOA should take responsibility at improving the bus services rather than providing justifications when bus fires occur.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER