SUNBIZ

Three Companies, Fourteen Buses Take Displaced Fijians Home

On Saturday, the Government, Fiji Police Force and the three bus operators in partnership decided to help get these Fijians back home before curfew on Sunday night.
10 May 2021 10:00
Three Companies, Fourteen Buses Take Displaced Fijians Home
Police escorts Sunbeam Transport bus as it leaves for Lautoka from Suva on May 9, 2021. Photo: Inoke Rabonu

Sunbeam Transport Limited, Shore Buses Limited and Shahabud Dean Transport acted bravely to help Fijians return home yesterday.

Since the first COVID-19 community transmitted case was reported in April bus companies like Sunbeam had been forced to cease operations.

On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services had announced that those who were still stuck in the containment zones had until last night at 11pm to return home.

On Saturday, the Government, Fiji Police Force and the three bus operators in partnership decided to help get these Fijians back home before curfew on Sunday night.

Yesterday, Sunbeam Transport Limited chief executive officer Zahid Ali Wahab said they had 12 buses in total running the trips from Suva to Lautoka.

He said: “To be honest we had some drivers who were hesitant to take the trips as they were concerned for their safety.

“This was a very unusual trip, but it was an opportunity to help Fijians especially through these hard times and being Mother’s Day.”

Mr Wahab said four buses left Lautoka at 9.30am for Suva and one at 6pm.

For Suva six buses left for Lautoka between 2pm to 4pm.

People line up at the Sunbeam Transport Limited ticket booth in Suva as they try to return to their homes in Lautoka on May 9, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

People line up at the Sunbeam Transport Limited ticket booth in Suva as they try to return to their homes in Lautoka on May 9, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

Shahabud Dean Transport owner Zane Dean said he only had one bus run from Lautoka to Nadi and back.

“Many people here between Nadi and Lautoka had travelled back yesterday (Saturday) so not many travelled back.

“This was our turn to step up for our country and we hope to be able to do more.

“It does not matter if we made a loss or not. The main objective was to help.”

Fiji Bus Operators Association president, Nisar Ali Shah said he was grateful to the three operators who stepped up and acted bravely.

“They put themselves, their businesses and staff at a loss to help people get back,” he said.

“Shore Buses Limited had one bus running to Lami and back to Suva as well to help those in that area get back.”

He said it was a good sight to see when he visited the Lautoka bus station to witness passengers being more responsible.

“It was a great sight to see passengers taking precautions, wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitisers and maintaining social distancing. Fijians are taking the fight against the pandemic seriously and it is good to see.”

Mr Shah thanked the Police and Ministry of Transport for their joint operations in ensuring things went smoothly.

Buses were only allowed to take 50 per cent of their total capacity with strictly no stopovers along the way.

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj



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