NEWS

Suva City Council Staff Face Verbal Abuse In Rush Hour

Council enforcement officers at the Suva Bus Stand are reported hurled with abuse especially in the afternoon as they try and keep people in check.
22 Apr 2020 15:18
Suva City Council Staff Face Verbal Abuse In Rush Hour
Suva City Council enforcement officer, Lusiana Cagilaba, monitors movement of people at the Suva Bus Stand on April 21, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Suva City Council has asked Police to step in during peak travelling times at the city’s bus terminals to ensure that social distancing practising is observed.

Social distancing practices on buses remains a critical issue, especially during the morning and afternoon.

Council enforcement officers at the Suva Bus Stand are reported hurled with abuse especially in the afternoon as they try and keep people in check.

Suva and Lami special administrator chair Isikeli Tikoduadua said enforcement officers were placed at the bus stand to ensure that people were practising social distancing.

However, some members of the public were not helping in the cause to fight the deadly virus.

“These enforcement officers are doing their work and ensuring that COVID-19 does not spread,” he said.

“We all want to go back to a life where there is economic viability and these actions by people especially in the afternoon will not help this cause.

“Becase of the abuse and assault by members of the public we have asked the Fiji Police Force to step in,” Mr Tikoduadua said.

According to commuters, everyone wants to reach home before curfew starts.

“Nobody wants to risk missing their last bus. People cannot travel by taxi anymore, so buses are packed with people trying to get home,” said Ajendra Prasad, a Newtown resident of Nasinu.

Nausori resident Raijeli Waqa said she could not afford to miss her bus and would not dare.

Nasese Buses Limited director Jack Kumar said buses were full in the afternoon but not to the capacity before COVID-19.

“At most we have 40 to 50 passengers in the last buses or the afternoon buses. Having 30 or less passengers means us not making any profit,” he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by other bus companies.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said it was up to the people to be responsible.

He said if people saw the buses were full, do not get on the bus.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said Police were not going to get deeply involved in telling people on buses to socially distance themselves as it was their responsibility.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had highlighted that if people continued to defy directives especially in terms of social distancing, the Government still had the option of a 24-hour curfew.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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