NATION

Bus Drivers Suffer Abuse, Vandalism On The Rise, Bus Company Directors Claim

“All of this started with the inception of eTransport cards. When passengers don’t have money in their cards or when drivers ask them to tap again or when passengers don’t want to buy the $2 cards, some passengers have become violent. We have installed cameras inside our buses to capture such incidents. And we have footage.”
22 Oct 2019 12:01
Bus Drivers Suffer Abuse, Vandalism On The Rise, Bus Company Directors Claim
The Suva Bus Station on October 21, 2019. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

 

Bus drivers are being verbally abused and spat on by angry passengers, claims Nasese Bus Company director Jack Kumar.

Mr Kumar said apart from the daily abuse from commuters, vandalism was also an issue.

“There have been many cases where passengers have spat on drivers and even tried to hit them,” he said.

“All of this started with the inception of eTransport cards. When passengers don’t have money in their cards or when drivers ask them to tap again or when passengers don’t want to buy the $2 cards, some passengers have become violent. We have installed cameras inside our buses to capture such incidents. And we have footage.”

Despite these problems, Mr Kumar said they continued to provide services.

Zakreen Holdings Limited director Mohammed Shakil said his drivers faced similar abuse. He claims the drivers were now scared. According to the Crimes Act, such an offence is classified as an assault.

The Nasese Bus Company, which covers many routes in Suva and Naisnu is also concerned about vandalism.

Mr Kumar said bus seat cushions were damaged or in some cases ripped off while the seat recliner was vandalised or damaged.

In most of these cases, Mr Kumar alleged that schoolchildren were responsible for the damage and vandalism.

“We also had a case the other week, where a passenger got off at Nabua as the bus was slowing down and he snatched a chain worn by a female passenger,” he said.

Mr Kumar said he was willing to show the recorded footage if requested.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said such matters should be reported.

Edited by Percy Kean

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