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Pirate Taxi Operators Under Scrutiny

The Land Transport Authority last week suspended the driving licenses of 28 drivers that were operating pirate taxis and had a bad track record for habitually breaking traffic laws. This
22 Mar 2015 10:03
Pirate Taxi Operators Under Scrutiny

The Land Transport Authority last week suspended the driving licenses of 28 drivers that were operating pirate taxis and had a bad track record for habitually breaking traffic laws.

This was determined during the monthly Show Cause hearing of Central, Western and Northern regions.

LTA chief executive officer Naisa Tuinaceva said operating pirate taxis or using private vehicles as Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) topped the list of offences followed by speeding.

“Other offences included careless driving, bad driver behaviour, breaching the PSV code of conduct, carrying excess passengers without an excess permit and using a mobile phone while driving,” he said.

Mr Tuinaceva said LTA has also deregistered seven vehicles that were being used as pirate taxis.

“Eleven drivers were issued final warnings. Drivers between the ages of 23 to 69 were suspended from driving for three to 11 months.”

The monthly Show Cause hearing was presided over by Mr Tuinaceva- summons habitual offenders to justify why their driving license should not be suspended or cancelled as per regulation. During the hearing, Mr Tuinaceva reiterated that LTA would not condone pirate taxi operators and habitual offenders.

“These people are an absolute disgrace to our nation,” remarked Mr Tuinaceva.

Illegal operation of private vehicles as taxis is fast becoming a problem in Fiji. LTA has also come across cases whereby legal PSV operators were seen operating pirate taxis.

Mr Tuinaceva said that this was unfair on PSV operators who were operating within the boundaries of the system and were paying tax, third party and base fee.

“Pirate taxi operators are feeding their family with illegal money and they are robbing people of livelihood which is a dirty tactic and is unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Tuinaceva has challenged illegal PSV operators to enter the level playing field instead of creating a society of lawlessness.

“They operate pirate taxis to make easy money. But I want to remind these people that there are far better ways to make a living. Many other legal businesses opportunities are available and they should make use of these opportunities rather than indulging in illegal activities.”

Mr Tuinaceva said that he was saddened to see many young drivers appear in the Show Cause hearing. During the hearing, Mr Tuinaceva reprimanded the young habitual offenders: “Do you realise what you have done? You are a potential killer and I will not tolerate your behaviour. You do not respect the law, you do not value human life, so don’t expect LTA to look after you and give your driving license back.”

Speeding remains the number one killer on our roads and LTA is concerned that if drivers are not careful and vigilant, then more people will either lose their lives in road accidents or sustain injuries to their physical and mental health. The next Show Cause Hearing will be held later this month.

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