TAXI operators in Lautoka City have noted a significant drop in the number of illegal transport operators since the start of Operation Blitz by police in the Western Division this month.
Both the Fiji Taxi Association Lautoka branch and the Lautoka Taxi Operators Association (LTOA) said the operation reduced illegal activity by as much as 40 per cent.
"The authorities —Police Traffic Unit, Land Transport Authority and Lautoka City Council— should be commended for such a great effort," said FTA Lautoka branch president Raben Bhan Singh.
"Since the start of this operation, illegal taxis, vans and private cars have been impounded and people involved are thinking twice (about re-offending)."
Meanwhile, the LTOA said the huge reduction in illegal operator numbers was a reflection of the authorities' determination to stamp out such activities in the west.
"We had a meeting with police commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua, director traffic Senior Superintendent of Police Mahesh Mishra, Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala and the LTA regional manager. The result is visible with the authorities' crackdown on illegal activity and we have been given assurances that the operation will continue until the issue has been addressed," said LTOA general secretary Feroz Dean.
Since the start of Operation Blitz 15 days ago, 1600 drivers have been booked for various traffic infringements which ranged from not wearing a seat belt to speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.