Students Miss Class, Residents Fume Over Poor Bus Services

It is understood that Classic Buses was the last bus company that operated in the area.
02 Feb 2022 12:47
Students Miss Class, Residents Fume Over Poor Bus Services
Saweni Beach Road resident, Dharmendra Prakash. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

Pandit Vishnu Deo Memorial College Year 10 student, Jiya Prakash, has missed one week of classes because there were no bus services in her area for over a year.

Her father, a frustrated Dharmendra Prakash, said since school started again, his daughter was unable to attend school because the only means of transportation at Saweni Beach Road in Lautoka, which she depended, on has been unavailable for a long time now.

It is understood that Classic Buses was the last bus company that operated in the area.

Jiya is among the 33 students in the area affected.

Previously, Mr Prakash said Jiya would travel with a relative to and from school until they could no longer cater for her.

“She cried to me saying that she wants to be in school and I have assured her that the relevant authorities would listen to our plea and this would be solved.”

He also claimed some students in the area would, at times, walk two kilometres to the main road or paid at least $2.50 each (one way) to travel to and from school when they are offered transportation in a private vehicle.

He said residents in the area want the matter addressed swiftly because students were missing classes.

“I can provide my daughter with her school necessities, a home and food and this Government has helped me also by providing the bus card for my daughter to use so that she can get a proper education. But that cannot happen now because there are no bus services in the area,” he said.

“Some parents are able to afford that daily so their students are able to go to school, but I cannot afford it because I am self-employed, a fisherman and my family depends on my income.”

Before, Mr Prakash said the buses would provide service six times a day.

“The buses would arrive at 7.20am, which was normally for the school students and those travelling to work, then the 8.45am bus, 10.45am bus, 12.45pm bus and right at 4pm, which was the bus bringing the students from school. And the last bus was at 6pm,” he said.

Another resident, James Naicker, said being a farmer, he would walk to the main road at times to travel to the Lautoka Market to sell his vegetables. Or he would pay $15 one way to hire a taxi.

Mr Naicker’s daughters, who are students also, have to hire a taxi to school daily.

District Advisory Counsellor for Saweni, Nabare, Padarath, Vuda Point and Viseisei, Mohammed Rafiq, said he understood the frustration the residents endured.

“I urge the LTA to look into this issue for our residents,” he said.

Classic Buses director Adnan Mohammed said the matter needed to be addressed by the LTA and not the company.

LTA is currently dealing with the matter.




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