No more free rides on buses

The FBOA decided that operators would stop transporting students Government had announced in the 2019-2020 budget that the restrictions were being placed to stop abuse of the e-transport cards and that the cards were to be used between 6:30am to 9:00am and 2:30pm and 5:00pm. Picture: FILE/REINAL CHAND

OVER the past three days, thousands of students around the country whose bus concession cards have not been topped up have been travelling on buses free, says the Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA).

In a special general meeting yesterday, the FBOA decided that operators would stop transporting students who did not have funds in their cards. In a statement, the association’s president, Nisar Ali Shah, said thousands of students still had not received their travel funds from the Education Ministry over the past three days.

“Numerous operators have had to carry these students for free,” Mr Shah said.

“One operator estimated his buses carried up to 2000 students free on Monday and Tuesday because funds had not yet been credited to students’ cards.”

Mr Shah said “the delay in crediting students’ cards has further affected struggling bus operators because of the loss of revenue through carrying students free of charge”.

“This cannot continue to happen.

“We empathise with the affected students and their parents, but the delays by the relevant agencies in ensuring cards are topped up has forced us to take this action and we hope for a speedy resolution to this issue.”

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