Overcrowding in buses a concern

An overcrowded bus in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

OVERCROWDING in buses remains one of the biggest issues for residents living in heavily populated areas outside Lautoka City.

Sajentri Lata of Koroipita said overcrowding occurred during peak hours.

“Usually, it is the young children who get left behind because of overcrowding. It happens every morning and evening and this is the peak time for travellers. This is an area with a lot of people and the number of buses is not enough to service the people during peak times.”

She said parents were concerned about the safety of their children travelling in overcrowded buses.

Lautoka General Transport managing director Pyara Singh said a trip to Naikabula from town usually took 15 minutes each way.

Increased traffic in the main city entrance delayed buses by an additional 15 minutes.

However, he said, the company would have additional buses servicing these areas for the benefit of the people.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has also reiterated to all public service vehicle (PSV) owners and drivers that passenger safety was paramount.

A statement from the LTA highlighted that if a bus driver carried excess passengers, contrary to Regulation 39(1) and 87 of the Land Transport (Traffic Infringement Notice) Regulation 2000, he or she could be fined.

“LTA also wishes to urge members of the public to be considerate and avoid travelling in overloaded buses or refrain from standing on the doorway, near the engine compartment and sitting on windows as this could lead to injuries or even a fatality. “It is also understood that commuters choose to travel in overloaded buses as they are in a rush to reach their destinations. However, it is better late than never and practising road safety at all times is important and everyone’s responsibility because it can save lives of one’s own self and others as well.”

LTA has also called on members of the public to report such matters either by texting LTA on 582 or emailing photos and information to complaints@lta.com.fj