The Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA) has thrown its support behind the move by the Land Transport Authority to further modernise the bus industry through a ‘national journey planner’ which will later be rolled out to other transport sectors.

Land Transport Authority (LTA) chief executive officer Samuel Simpson told bus operators at a special general meeting of the FBOA in Nadi on Saturday, 17 August, this would radicalise the bus industry and he was hopeful that operators would support the initiative.

Mr Simpson outlined how the system would be set up and how it would improve the experience of travelling by bus with real-time information available at the fingertips through a mobile application, allowing travellers to plan their journeys with a degree of certainty.

On introduction, the application will show travellers when each bus is due, how full those buses are and how much the journey will cost.

The FBOA special general meeting was attended by bus operators, as well as LTA representatives and Vodafone Fiji chief operating officer Ronald Prasad.

Mr Prasad updated bus operators on developments with the electronic ticketing issues and addressed many of their outstanding concerns.

Mr Prasad said improvements to the electronic ticketing system would include customising the software for Fiji’s market, introducing direct bank top-ups and increasing the number of self-service vending machines, which in the past four months since its introduction has risen in popularity. The introduction of period passes is also being examined.

FBOA general secretary Rohit Latchan said bus operators were fully supportive of the LTA’s national journey planner initiative and welcome the move by Vodafone Fiji introduce direct bank top-ups for e-ticket cards.

“Bus operators are keen to embrace change and modernisation within the bus industry even as we await resolution of our application for a bus fare review,” Mr Latchan said.

“In the past few months, we have been working closely with the Land Transport Authority to bring about continued improvements in systems and approaches, and the relationship has been productive.

Mr Latchan said: “While we have been waiting, we have continued to implement as many of the changes required by regulators and government planners to modernise our services, while the industry is facing many challenges.”

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