NATION

Ensure Consistent Service, Land Transport Authority Tells Bus Operators

He said the LTA had mechanisms such as the Quality Assurance Management System to regulate public transport operators.
07 May 2019 09:49
Ensure Consistent Service, Land Transport Authority Tells Bus Operators
The Suva Bus station on May 6, 2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

 

Bus operators have been urged to ensure a consistently reliable service all day, every day.

The call has come from Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive officer Samuel Simpson.

This response came after the Fiji Sun ran a Between the Lines story yesterday of an American couple, travelling a week apart, who were both victim to bus breakdowns while travelling from the Nadi International Airport to Suva.

“The key to a healthy vibrant bus sector is reliability, reliability and reliability,” said Mr Simpson.

“This more than anything ensures healthy revenues for bus operators.”

Before buses are approved for transport, they must have a licence, which is issued based on the Road Route Licence guideline and Quality Assurance Management system compliance requirement.

Mr Simpson said these have recently been revamped and approved by the LTA Board.

He said the LTA had mechanisms such as the Quality Assurance Management System to regulate public transport operators.

“Bus operators must ensure that their vehicle fleet is regularly inspected on a planned maintenance programme either on the basis of kilometres or time interval to ensure reliable service delivery at all times,” Mr Simpson said.

Yet, despite these updates and precautions, travellers are still experiencing issues.

Oscar Gonzalez Hernandez, a tourist from Mexico, was on a bus that broke down on Sunday. When a replacement bus came to pick him and the other travellers up, that new bus broke down shortly afterward.

At one point, he says, smoke started billowing inside the bus, causing widespread panic as people rushed to get off the bus and had to wait for the driver to open the door.

He said his first reaction was confusion, then fear as people screamed “fire” from the back of the bus.

When he finally arrived in Suva, it was over an hour and a half later than he had planned.

“At the beginning I was excited to be here in Fiji and I was hoping to have a really good experience, but after being here for just a few hours and having that happen — I just hope that nothing else worse happens to me,” said Mr Gonzalez Hernandez.

When asked if he planned to take the bus back to Nadi at the end of his trip, he said “I will try to find other transportation because I’m afraid to miss my flight.”

Mr Simpson said the LTA recognised the importance of tourists to the Fijian economy and encouraged bus operators to do their part to strengthen Fiji’s tourism by investing in new buses and coaches with improved standards of comfort and better facilities, such as air conditioning, free on-board WiFi, comfortable seating and handicap access.

In the event of bus operators falling short of expectations, customers are advised to report to the LTA by texting 582 from a mobile network or to email them at help@lta.com.fj.

Customers should provide as much detail as possible so that a proper investigation can be carried out.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedbacksydnee.gonzalez@fijisun.com.fj



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