NATION

Minibus Group Unhappy With Council

Members of the Fiji Minibus Association are not happy because the Suva City Council has not provided them a permanent base to operate from. The Fiji Minibus Association general secretary
05 Dec 2016 20:12
Minibus Group Unhappy With Council
From left: Fiji Minibus drivers Josefa Vueti, Ravuama Magitivosa and Josefa Tarogi at their base, in front of their minibuses in Suva yesterday. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

Members of the Fiji Minibus Association are not happy because the Suva City Council has not provided them a permanent base to operate from.

The Fiji Minibus Association general secretary Epineri Waqabaca said: “It is a great concern on how the Suva City Council has relocated us without our knowledge, as permit holders we have the right to be consulted on the movement of our base which operates from Suva to the west.”

Suva special administrator, Chandu Umaria, declined to make any comments on the issue.

Mr Waqabaca stated the minibus drivers pay $225 per month for their business license and $6 per day for their base fee.

“’If the SCC does not look into the matter then we’re asking the Government to step in and help us, it’s affecting us, what all we need is a permanent base to operate tats all we’re asking them,” he said.

Suva-Lautoka minibus driver, Josefa Tarogi, 43, said the Suva City Council had closed down their operation base.

“They closed down the operation base without an official letter or notice as to why we were told to relocate,” he said.

“They could have given us three months for us to look for a proper base, but it happened all of a sudden.

“We were told to move by the Bayly Clinic. We moved over to the bus stand next to Bayly Clinic and just after one week they told us to move to the foreshore.”

Mr Tarogi said minibus drivers have lost many of its passengers during the moving process. Minibus drivers pay $100 per month for their business licence and $5.70 per day for their base fee.

“Now our main concern is our passengers. We have lost a lot of our passengers during this movement. They (SCC) didn’t provide any shelter for us and now they have told us to park three metres to the Handicraft Centre as our temporary base,” he said.

“When we put up a temporary shelter for the passengers and the drivers where we could operate, SCC officers came and told us to take it down.

“We have 300 workers who make up the minibus base; we have the drivers, the loading boys and permit holders and we pay a good money to the SCC but with this kind of service, it is unacceptable.”

He said they needed a permanent base because their business operates 24 hours, seven days a week.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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