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Fiji Time: 4:11 AM on Friday 25 April

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Call for crackdown on illegal activity

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, December 25, 2012

TAXI operators in Lautoka are calling on the authorities to continue the clampdown on illegal transport operators in the west.

The Lautoka branch of the Fiji Taxi Association said despite the increased presence of officers in the Western Division during Operation Blitz, private cars and vans continued to openly ply their trade.

"Our survey has revealed that 65 private cars and close to 180 private vans are operating as public service vehicles in Lautoka alone," said branch secretary Mohammed Shameem.

"These vehicles do not pay licences or base fees and operate outside shopping centres from parking meter bays.

"They are depriving taxi operators of much needed income.

"When you consider that drivers have to pay about $280 per week to taxi owners in contract fees, one wonders how much they are earning to take home and put food on the table?"

Land Transport Authority chief executive officer Naisa Tuinaceva said the operators' pleas for action were being addressed with an increase in bookings of illegal transport operators over the past few months and increased scrutiny in target areas during the festive season.

However, he also said all stakeholders needed to play their part to bring an end to this illegal activity.

"If taxi operators sent in evidence like photographs and municipal councils stepped up their enforcement of fines and booking illegal operators, then this would assist us in taking people to task."