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Boost for rural riders

Jone Kalouniviti
Thursday, March 06, 2014

RA provincial administrator Kelepi Kubunameca has introduced a two-pronged approach to rural service licencing (RSL) to solve villagers' transportation and income woes.

He has mooted the idea of villagers obtaining their own carriers through loans from the Fiji Development Bank to transport school children — and use the government bus fare scheme to help pay off the loans.

"I brought this option up at the tikina council meeting and will put it on the agenda again at the provincial meeting on March 10," he said.

Public transport has long been an issue of the tikina of Saivou, Nalawa and Nakorotubu because of road conditions and the existence of only one bus operator.

Mr Kubunameca said it was time to inject new ideas into the picture.

"The RSL is for carrier drivers and mini bus operators to transport people from rural areas to towns.

"This can be an income-generating project for villagers under which they can access loans from FDB through our endorsement and also use the current bus fare subsidy for school children to help pay off their loans."

Mr Kubunameca said the government had allocated $1.60 per student per day in bus fare subsidies and this could be diverted towards carrier drivers who cart between 30 and 50 students daily through many villages to schools.

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