Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fiji Buses

from w
Vehicles caught for execssive smoking
The above heading is from today’s Fiji Sun – nice spelling and point of view.

From Fiji Times Bus overload
Thursday, September 18, 2008

THE Maharaj Transport Ltd bus which caught fire on Tuesday afternoon was carrying 108 students, almost double the lawful limit.Sigatoka Police Station officer-in-charge ASP Aliposo Vakaloloma said yesterday that officers involved in the investigation interviewed all the students that were travelling on the bus.Eyewitnesses were also interviewed by police as the National Fire Authority and Land Transport Authority completed their inspection of the bus.

ASP Vakaloloma said while it was a 60-seater bus, they had established that there were 108 students travelling in it to town. He said they would focus attention on the company and the overloading aspect once they complete gathering statements from the students and eyewitnesses.

LTA chief executive Etuate Koroi said it was a concern to learn that there were so many students on the bus.He said the driver alone should be made to answer for the issue of overloading as the loading of passengers was at the driver's discretion.

Form 7 Cuvu College student Ashnita Chand said apart from being cramped in the bus seats, students stood from the back of the bus all the way to the stairs of the bus. The 18-year-old said when the bus was engulfed by smoke and flames, they had no other choice but to jump out of the windows because the bus was overloaded. At about 3.45pm on Tuesday as the bus was heading towards Sigatoka Town, it burst into flames while passing through Volivoli Village.

While the majority of the students escaped from the bus without injuries, six students were taken to the Sigatoka Hospital and treated for minor injuries before being sent home. Mr Koroi has confirmed that the authority will be conducting a fleet check of the Maharaj Transport Company today.

This incident, following closely on the heels of the tragic bus accident that resulted in the deaths of 12 people, has caused fear among the travelling public of Fiji.

It has prompted many calls from people, organisations and lobby groups for a survey of the road worthiness of buses in Fiji as well as of the bus industry itself.

(and read on...)
As police investigated the Maharaj Transport accident, another incident occurred at Sigatoka Valley where a bus carrying 20 people rolled down the hill when the driver miscalculated the changing of gears. The bus rolled 50 metres back and crashed through the fence of the Nacocolevu Research Station. The passengers were unhurt but shaken by the incident.

An on-line response from Jone of Fiji
80% of the buses running on our roads should not be there because they are below standards - they are very old, rattle, seats are all torn, emit a lot of smoke, have difficulty going up the hills, brakes fail, lots of breakdown, etc. I just wonder how these buses get their certificate of fitness - do they really qualify? We want answers from the LTA and we want the LTA authorities to ride on these buses on some gravel roads and experience for themselves what we are saying and what we are facing every day. The government should allow OHS representatives to examine all buses from safety point of view because LTA has failed in their duties to protect the citizens of this country. There should be a zero tolerance as far as the safety of people is concerned.
I agree with Jone of Fiji. I caught about eight buses in Fiji recently and nearly all of them were struggling up hills, smoked, and smelt bad causing breathing difficulties I am sure for some people, were uncomfortable as often three adults and two children sat in seats meant for three small-bottomed people. Fixing transport and roads in Fiji is of more importance than 80 page documents and talk-fests.


nzm said...

Could it be that the bus companies are paying someone in the LTA to look the other way?

Surely not!

Anonymous said...

Has any body seen the condition of Roads in Fiji, they are pathetic, potholes every where.
Before we can blame any bus owner try the following
- ask the government to fix the roads
- provide incentive for bus owner
- stop mini vans
- provide better police patrolling.

Accidents do occur and sometimes they can not be avoided but with better conditions damages can be reduced.

Anonymous said...

Sa dina! Ask the government to fix the roads! Are you joking? Where's the money, honey.
Provide incentives - yes, like a grant for schoolkids buses. Yeah!
Regarding mini-vans - is it still illegal? Drivers should renew licenses often surely. They are often poor drivers.
Better policing? They are too busy praising the Lord.
another Anonymous writer