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Social welfare concern

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, February 03, 2014

THE Social Welfare Ministry is concerned with the way some bus operators fail to work with them to allow elderly people to use concession cards in their buses.

Ministry permanent secretary Dr Joe Koroivueta said they were aware of the issue following complaints from concerned elderly people that they were not allowed to board buses, even with the use of cards.

The concerns follow a complaint by the daughter of a 69-year-old woman who claimed her mother was denied the right to use her card.

She was also told by a Pacific Transport Ltd checker to pay the full fare in Lautoka prior to boarding and that she would only be refunded half the fare upon reaching Suva.

"We are aware of that; the issue is with the bus operators and Pacific Transport is one of these bus companies," Dr Koroivueta said.

Dr Koroivueta said they were concerned about the elderly people's plight.

"We are very concerned because we know the plight some of our elderly are going through — at the end of the day they are people.

"The issue here is the bus operators need to come on board and work with us."

Pacific Transport manager Satya Pande, however, denied that they'd refused elderly passengers the use of their cards.

"We advise that we are accommodating all concession card holders and at no point in time have we refused any of them," Mr Pande said.

"The cards are accepted and concessions allowed at all of our branches.

"The incidents such as elderly people not producing their cards at ticket issuance point, they're later refunded when they show their cards.

Mr Pande said they accommodated all concession holders, however, it's compulsory for them to produce cards.

He added at times they photocopy the ID cards if validity was doubted for verification with the authorities.

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