The issue of the increasing number of Public Service Vehicles involved in accidents is seriously becoming a real worry for authorities in Fiji.
And to address this, a meeting was convened today between the Fiji Police Force, Land Transport Authority and Suva City Council to reassess operations targeting those who have been given the responsibility of transporting members of the public.
According to statistics, 2012 has so far recoded 6 fatalities involving PSV vehicles namely buses and mini-buses.
However, statistics dating back to 2005 reveal a worrying trend involving Public Service Vehicles which brought the three stakeholders together under one roof at the National Traffic Control Centre in Nabua.
LTA representatives headed by General Manager Operations Aptinko Vaurasi highlighted the need to review current strategies in regards to the policing and monitoring of PSV drivers who are increasing becoming a concern on our roads.
“We have to map out quick measures and get hold of not only the drivers but everyone involved in the maintenance and running of these vehicles to improve on how they are operating on our roads," said in a Police statement
Director Traffic SSP Mishra says the biggest hurdle faced by authorities continues to be the attitude of drivers.
“We can say that most public service vehicle operators have improved the conditions of their vehicles and we thank them for that but what needs to be improved on now is the attitude of drivers”.
“You sometimes come across buses not using the proper bus bays and are parking anyhow showing a complete disregard of their passengers safety and the safety of other motorists, and this has to stop”, adds SSP Mishra.
As a result the three stakeholders have agreed to launch a campaign tomorrow targeting PSV’s in a bid to try and weed out drivers who are failing to comply with the laws.
The Suva City Council as a major partner has also agreed to help in the campaign by monitoring the activities of PSV’s while in the busy streets of Suva more specifically at the Bus Stand where a lot of PSV’s converge every day.
Today’s meeting also resulted in increased cooperation whereby the Fiji Police Force will look at ways of improving information sharing with the LTA whereby bookings of PSV drivers will be forwarded immediately for the LTA’s database.
This in turn will help in an LTA initiative called the “show cause hearings” whereby PSV drivers who are found to be habitual offenders are summoned to explain why their licenses should not be disqualified.
While there are challenges all parties including the SCC have agreed that doing so will send a warning to PSV drivers that they could lose their licenses if they are found continuously breaching the law.
“What we continue to find is that the actions of PSV drivers create unsafe zones which has unfortunately led to accidents and deaths on our roads and what they have to remember is that they have a major responsibility to keep their passengers and others safe”.
The weekend operation which begins tomorrow in the Southern Division will see traffic and LTA Officers as well as SCC officials carry out checks on public service vehicles from maintenance issues to driver conduct.
The operation will run till the start of the third term school holidays as stakeholders aim to make sure all vehicles are in satisfactory condition.
Meanwhile, LTA and Police will hold an educational awareness session with the employees of two bus companies in Valelevu today at 8pm.
By Reginald Chandar