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Fiji Time: 7:28 AM on Wednesday 17 September

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Bus industry under fire

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Update: 11:38AM THE bus industry has come under fire for not improving their services despite getting government subsidies.

This was highlighted after a Raiwaqa Bus Limited caught fire, killing 10 passengers on Thursday night in Sigatoka.

Fiji Labour Party assistant secretary general Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi said the bus industry was forever seeking subsidies and other forms of support and they are usually granted.

Mr Vayeshnoi said the loss of the 10 lives in the accident was tragic but could have been avoided.

"For the bus to lose control and subsequently plunge in a ditch and catch fire, it is obvious that there may have been some form of mechanical failure or some act/omission on the part of persons who had charge of the vehicle. And others who were to ensure that the bus was in road worthy condition and had passed the requisite safety tests required of such public service passenger vehicle," said Mr Vayeshnoi.

He said the party believed that the police and the Land Transport Authority should work together and conduct their investigations to find out the cause of the fire and to lay appropriate charges.

"Investigations must be conducted independently without any interference and if need be forensic experts should also be brought in from overseas to assist the relevant authorities tasked with the investigation," Mr Vayeshnoi said.

He said the LTA should set higher safety standards which cannot be compromised and suspend the operating licence of those companies whose fleet do not conform to the statutory safety and road worthy requirements.

"We do not need the loss of 10 lives, including that of children to jolt us on our responsibilities with respect to having road worthy public service vehicles," said Mr Vayeshnoi.


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