Shah: Health protocols leave bus drivers no option

A bus load of people in Suva. Picture: ATU RASEA

The Fiji Bus Operators Association says because of the 80 per cent bus carrying capacities, drivers have no option but to refuse students once they reached the required number of passengers.

Association president Nisar Ali Shah said bus drivers did not want to be burdened by the heavy fines associated with operators who refused to adhere to the health protocols.

Responding to calls from parents of stranded students who were refused into buses, he said a lot of bus companies were already riddled with financial difficulties.

“Parents need to understand that we are acting within the ambits of the COVID requirements for public transportation and we have to ensure that we adhere to these rules,” he said.

While bus companies refused to comment on the concerns of parents regarding stranded children because of public transportation requirements, Raiwaqa buses owner Ashok Kumar said they sympathised with the students, but the situation was beyond their control.

“If we take in more students, our drivers get fined and then we as bus operators get fined too,” he said.

“I understand the call from parents for more bus trips in these areas. Some of our bus companies are barely making ends meet. We are sorry that we cannot meet the needs of the public because at the end of the day we have to make a
living too.”

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