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1 safe driver

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, January 31, 2013

FOR 53-year-old Pita Ravilu the long bumpy ride from Labasa to Natuvu in Buca Bay, Cakaudrove is just part of his daily routine.

The Wailevu Village native in Labasa is the driver of the Taveuni Princess ferry bus that travels along the Labasa, Savusavu via Buca Bay highway every day except Wednesdays.

Every work day begins at 3am when he wakes up to prepare for the long arduous journey as the road from Savusavu is a bumpy road stretch that people who travel daily along the way like Mr Ravilu have become used to.

Mr Ravilu has three children who are doing well in school and he says he has been able to put them in school through driving for the various bus companies he has worked for in the last 32 years.

Speaking as someone who has had his share of travels along the Labasa-Buca Bay highway, the road is not an "easy" especially from Savusavu to Natuvu.

However for Mr Ravilu the passion to ensure the safety of his passengers and meeting new people along the route has made him oblivious to the bumpy roads.

"In my 32 years of driving I have never been booked for a serious traffic infringement and that evidence of my interest in seeing and ensuring that the safety of my passengers remain my top priority," said Mr Ravilu.

"I was booked once but it was for parking in a non-parking zone. It happened once on my return journey from Natuvu on a Wednesday and as the bus stand was full I was told by an officer to park in front of the Labasa Civic Centre as the bus station was full and affecting the flow of traffic."

Mr Ravilu said when he parked at the Civic Centre he was approached by another officer who issued him a traffic infringement notice for parking in a non-parking spot.

"However I did not want to make a fuss about it as I was tired from the long journey and just took the TIN since I wanted to hurry home and rest," said Mr Ravilu.

"I enjoy my work and never tire of the scenic views that greet me every day along the ride as I carry my passengers every day in and out of Labasa Town.

"I started driving when I was 22 and through this employment I have been able to put my eldest daughter through to the Fiji National University where she is into her third year studying environmental science with the second eldest in Form Six and the youngest in Form Five," he said.

Mr Ravilu always stresses to his children the importance of education.

"I do not want any of them to do the work that I am doing as it is a tiring work even though I enjoy it every day but I have always told them that there is nothing wrong with being a bus driver but the catch for such a work is to have patience," he said.

Mr Ravilu is married to Tokasa Biu who is from Nubu and he says their relationship has grown sweeter by the day since they married in 1992.

A smiling Mrs Ravilu says being married to a bus driver is not easy since it means waking up at 3am and it is sometimes hard being away from your husband knowing that anything can happen to him along the highway.

"Through the life and work of my husband we teach our children to do everything that they have to do from their heart as it will pay off someday," she added

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