By PREMILA KUMAR, CEO, CONSUMER COUNCIL OF FIJI
The Consumer Council would like to respond to comments made by Fiji Bus Operators Association accusing the Council of releasing inaccurate statements.
The Council stands by its statement because we know what we are talking about and have evidence to support it. Government assistance to the bus industry is well documented through duty concessions and fuel subsidies which the FBOA has been enjoying for many years.
It is a fact that bus industry has been enjoying a number of concessions over the years and it is ridiculous for the bus industry to dispute this.
The Council does not need to go to FBOA to confirm known and publicized facts. We strongly feel that the bus industry should contribute towards making the smart card affordable for consumers to switch to e-ticketing. Even if FBOA provides $3m subsidy towards smart card, they will be able to recover this within one year including the initial investment of $4m made on e-ticketing machine considering $7m annual loss to the industry in pilferage.
The Council meanwhile would like to thank Vodafone Fiji for subsidizing the cost of smartcards as part of its corporate social responsibility and the Council commends the mobile company for that.