NATION

Bus Fares Up By 7 Cents Per Stage

Bus fares for adults will go up by as much as seven cents per stage from February 10, 2020, while the changes in student fares come into effect on May 4, 2020.
24 Jan 2020 09:26
Bus Fares Up By 7 Cents Per Stage
Miriama Lagataki taps her eticketing card as she boards the Makoi bus on January 23, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

The increase in bus fares of up to seven cents per stage is deemed necessary for the sustainability of the Fijian bus industry.

That’s the verdict from The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) chief executive officer, Joel Abraham, adding that the maximum bus fare is not a fixed fare, but a price ceiling on bus fares. This will allow operators on competitive routes to compete on the basis of cost leadership and offer the best deals to Fijian consumers.

Bus fares for adults will go up by as much as seven cents per stage from February 10, 2020, while the changes in student fares come into effect on May 4, 2020.

Bus fares in Vanua Levu will increase also, to be on the same level as stage fares in Viti Levu as well.

“We have made the fairest possible decision for both Fijian bus operators and the travelling public,” Mr Abraham said.

“We recognise that thousands of Fijians rely on buses as their main mode of transportation. This fare increase supports the overall sustainability of the bus industry and will be met with measured gains in access to bus services and reliability.

“Particularly in rural areas, where routes run on significantly lower margins. The review considered changes in indices that would inflate costs for bus companies and one of the key determinants was an increase in labour costs.”

On non-exclusive routes, Mr Abraham is encouraging bus operators to demonstrate cost leadership and set competitive fares to attract customers.

He said the consultations started in 2017 for the bus fare and 13,000 submissions were made.

“The FCCC was not coerced by bus operators or any other party in reaching their decision. This was a necessary move as fares had not been reviewed since 2009,” he said.

After looking at the bus company financials and due diligence, Mr Abraham said only then did the FCCC come up with the new fare prices. He pointed out that the Fiji Bus Operators governance needed to be looked at for possible collusion between the bigger operators.

“Issues facing smaller and rural operators were not highlighted and the FCCC came across the issues only when they talked with the operator,” the CEO said.

“The need to have full and fair information available allows the FCCC to scrutinise the operations of the company. We want to see if the bus companies were operating at an efficient level. The Fijian public should not be made to pay for anyone’s inefficiency.”

The FCCC had received submissions from operators wanting an increase in stage one fares of up to $1.50. Other submissions wanted to have stages one and two fares pegged at $1. While there were submissions to increase fares for tourists to $2 for stage one.

“Bus operators, and other public transport operators, need to keep in mind that everyone has to be treated fairly in all regards and charging higher fares for only Stage 1 and 2 consumers will be a massive disadvantage to everyday Fijians who stay within the 12km radius to their destination,” he said.

The public would be notified of the changes in the fares by bus companies before it comes into effect.

What do You Think About the Increase in Bus Fares?

Screenshot 2020-01-24 at 9.13.03 AM

Edited Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

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