THE Land Transport Authority is calling on taxi operators in Lautoka to extend their hours of services.
LTA media officer Alfred Wiliame said the increasing numbers of illegal vehicles in the Sugar City and in most parts of the Western Division was attributed to the lack of licensed public service vehicles operating at night.
He said the authority had urged the taxi operators in Lautoka to extend their hours of service and to meet the high demand for transport.
"All taxis are supposed to operate at nights like they do in Suva," Mr Wiliame said.
"I think one of the reasons for the increase in illegal operation is because of the demand from the people and the lack of taxis operating at night.
"Some taxis only operate during the day time and we are urging all drivers and operators to make sure they meet their permit requirement which is to offer 24-hour service," he said.
Lautoka Taxi Union president Raben Bhan Singh refuted claims made by the LTA.
"Many taxis also operate at night but our business has been affected by the increasing number of private rental cars and mini vans also operating at night," Mr Singh said.
"These illegal cars charge low fares to members of the public which is also the reason most taxis operators refuse to operate at night. From our research, we have discovered that more than 300 illegal cars and mini vans operate illegally at night.
"Some of these private cars belong to business people, government officials and some others holding top positions in various organisations," he said.