The Fiji Bus
Operators Association (FBOA) is disillusioned with the announcement today by the
Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) of a 7 cent increase in fares,
and has called on the commission to state openly how it arrived at that
determination.

“While we are relieved to have finally got some movement after 10 years of stagnant fares, operators are struggling to understand the justification for an increase of 7 cents for all stages,” says FBOA President, Nisar Ali Shah.

“The FCCC and its chief executive officer, Joel Abraham, should be open and transparent about how they arrived at this fare, considering that inflation alone during the past decade has far exceeded the nominal increase we have been granted,” Shah said.

For the period 2010
to 2019 alone, the Reserve Bank’s cumulative inflation has exceeded 28 per
cent. The revised fare structure comes nowhere near adequately and reasonably
addressing the issue of increased costs for bus operators over the past 10
years.

For Stage 1 fares,
the increase is about 10.3 per cent from 68 cents to 75 cents. For Stage 2, the
percentage increase is 6.3 per cent (from $1.11 to $1.18) and for Stage 3 the
increase is only 4.5 per cent (from $1.55 to $1.62). The percentage increase
continues to diminish until the final stage, number 46, which only receives a
0.35 per cent increase (from $19.86 to $19.93).

“How is this fare structure fair?” Shah questioned.

“For an institution
that is mandated to review and set prices, it is the right of the Fijian people
to know how the FCCC arrived at the determination and what factors were
considered in the process.

“Abraham should, as a matter of transparency, publish the formula and model for arriving at what he described in the media as a ‘robust and independent analysis’,” Mr Shah said.

“Abraham is misleading in talking about a request for an increase for Stage 1 fare to $1.50. No operator has asked for first stage fare of $1.50. He is also distracting from the real issue by mentioning tourist fares when these were never mentioned or discussed at all.

“Abraham should stop misleading the public with his statements.”

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