The Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA) has called on the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to stop vilifying bus drivers for the unruly conduct of passengers, such as that seen over the past weekend.
The statement comes after a driver was issued an infringement notice for failing to stop passengers who were rocking the bus from side-to-side, following a rugby match last Saturday.
FBOA General Secretary Rohit Latchan called on LTA CEO Samuel Simpson to focus on enforcing regulations against unruly passengers before it becomes problematic, rather than putting all the responsibility on bus drivers and operators.
“There was is lack of control by the police and a failure by LTA to stop passengers from acting dangerously, especially after big events such as the rugby match last weekend,” Mr Latchan said.
“The LTA also expressed concern on overcrowding of buses, but no driver would deliberately and dangerously overload a bus. In this case, passengers were climbing into the bus through windows and onto the roof and the bus drivers were at the mercy of the unruly crowd,” Mr Latchan said.
Mr Latchan said bus drivers were already at risk of being assaulted, serious injuries and even death, so expecting a single bus driver to control the conduct of numerous passengers was unrealistic.
The law enforcement agencies should do better at protecting the travelling public by enforcing the law and standards of conduct by passengers while in public transport, rather than reacting through the punishment of drivers and operators.