The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on minibus operators to refrain from charging increase fares to passengers at different locations around the country as this is illegal.
Minibus fares are regulated by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and only fares that are prescribed by LTA should be paid by the passengers and accepted by the minibus drivers.
As stipulated under the Land Transport (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations 2000, Section 46, subsection 2.
The Authority may prescribe a schedule of fares for carriage of passengers by a mini-bus in which (a) the mini-bus must charge fares as prescribed; (b) the schedule must be displayed in a conspicuous position in the vehicle.”
Simply, only LTA can impose any such increases to minibus fares. At this point time, there has not been any announcement by LTA for the increase in fares and any increase is illegal and is punishable by law.
The Council has started receiving complaints of mini bus operators charging passengers with increased fares at different locations around the country. This behaviour is unacceptable. Mini buses provide a vital service to consumers and operators should not take advantage of this position to swindle consumers.
The Council is calling on mini bus operators to maintain their current fares and ensure that they are fair in dealings with consumers.
Increasing fares illegally is punishable by law and the Council advises consumers to report or lodge a complaint to LTA or call the National Consumer Helpline toll-free number, 155 if they are told by operators to pay higher fares.
Consumers should also, note the destination where the passenger is picked and being dropped and note the registration number of the minivan if they believe they have been overcharged.
Drivers who continue to charge increased minibus fares from their passengers risk being taken to task by the LTA.