NATION

COVID-19: Driver Tells: The Problem With Some Passengers

“It can be hard at times to advise people, but we can’t do much if they are not willing. I have been driving for two years, and last year people were a bit hesitant with wearing masks but now we see more people wearing masks.”
25 Apr 2021 11:00
COVID-19: Driver Tells: The Problem With Some Passengers
Passengers on board a bus at the Suva bus stand on April 24, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Suva bus driver, Sheikh Abdul, is among some public service vehicle (PSV) drivers who fear for their safety from members of the public.

Mr Abdul was sharing his experience when reminding passengers about the need to wear masks when boarding the bus.

The Government had issued an advisory on Friday afternoon for all to ‘mask up’ when travelling in all public transport vehicles.

“I can only advise, but cannot force anyone to wear a mask for my own safety,” Mr Abdul said.

Mr Abdul, who has been driving for 17 years, said not all passengers were receptive to instructions.

Because he had been assaulted in the past for not accepting cash when the e-ticketing card was introduced, he did not want a repeat of that experience.

“I don’t make the rules, but follow them. I do not want to lose my life because some people don’t adhere to advisories.”

Taxi driver, Amit Kumar said people were more willing to adhere to advisories this time around compared to last year.

“I make sure that people are wearing masks when I stop to pick them,” Mr Kumar said.

“It can be hard at times to advise people, but we can’t do much if they are not willing. I have been driving for two years, and last year people were a bit hesitant with wearing masks but now we see more people wearing masks.”

Raiwaqa and Citiline bus services director Ashish Kumar said they would make sure that their drivers do not allow unmasked passengers in their buses.

“The advisory is clear that passengers must wear a mask and so should drivers. We are making sure that this is followed,” Mr Kumar said.

“Our drivers are facing difficulties especially when passengers without masks enter the bus. At this point in time, the onus is on the passengers. We all need to work together to fight this virus. Everyone has a part to play,” he added.

Fiji Bus Operations Association president Nisar Ali Shah said passengers should wear masks for their own safety.

“We can’t do much if passengers don’t want to listen to the drivers because previously drivers have been attacked when passengers don’t get their way,” Mr Shah said.

Fiji Taxi Association president, Raben Singh has encouraged taxi drivers not to take jobs if passengers are not wearing masks.

Questions were sent to the Land Transport Authority on the progress of this new operation, but there was no response when this edition went to press last night.

Edited by Caroline  Ratucadra

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

 



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