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Illegal taxis in Lautoka come under scrutiny

Illegal taxis in Lautoka come under scrutiny
November 21
12:01 2017

Illegal taxis in Lautoka will now come under the close scrutiny of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS).

Police have also indicated they would immediately step up their work to curb these illegal operations.

This followed a meeting between the Lautoka Taxi Association, Fiji Police Force, Land Transport Authority, Lautoka City Council and FRCS.

It is estimated there are about 400 illegal taxis in Lautoka.

FRCS has asked the Lautoka Taxi Association to furnish them with the registration numbers of private cars carrying out illegal runs.

Association general secretary Deepak Kumar said with this data, FRCS could then determine who owned these vehicles, how many vehicles one person owned and what were the vehicles being used for if one person owned five or six vehicles?

According to one taxi driver, one person in Lautoka owned around 10 vehicles which were all being used as illegal taxis.

In some cases, Mr Kumar said LTA had mentioned that in one family, vehicles could be registered individually under the husband, wife and each child.

“Drivers of private vehicles believed to be working these illegal operations would now be stopped by Police and a comparison would be done on his licence against the name on the third party policy for the vehicle,” Mr Kumar said.

The taxi association sought the meeting following its concerns on the increasing number of private cars in Lautoka now running freely as taxis.

“We are angry because we follow the rules and pay our taxes but the Government does not see any taxes being paid by these private car owners,” Mr Kumar said.

“Also the lives of the public are at risk because if they are in a serious accident then they are not covered under third party insurance whereas we are.”

Another concern raised by the taxi association was on the crowding of the bus station area by these private vehicles and seven-seater vans when buses come from Suva at night.

“We taxi drivers park outside the bus station but these vehicles go inside and park beside the buses and approach passengers as soon as they disembark,” Mr Kumar said.

Mr Kumar said police and LTA indicated at the meeting that they did not actually see any exchange of money by passengers and drivers of private vehicles and this made it difficult to carry out bookings.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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