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'Loud' music in buses

Ana Madigibuli
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

OVER the past few years many Fijians have raised their concerns on the issue of loud music being played in buses daily.

Local media outlets have published, televised and aired on the radio issues relating to excessive music being played with the aim of creating awareness on it's negative impact on bus commuters.

Bus commuter Mereoni Ratulevu who travels from Nausori to Valelevu, daily, says she was so concerned about how loud music was played daily in buses especially buses that serviced the Nausori to Suva corridor.

"When I catch the bus from Nausori I make sure to board a bus that doesn't play loud music, but sometimes when I'm late to work I tend to board any bus that's about to leave the Nausori bus terminal because I need to get to my destination early," she said.

"In that case I sometimes board buses that play loud music because I don't have a choice and I'm rushing against the time, like many who commute by bus in the morning.

"I find it disrespectful to commuters who are paying for a quiet bus ride to work or school. Not everyone in the bus likes to listen to loud music, so drivers need to be considerate of every passenger, especially the elderly."

She hopes the Land Transport Authority and police would monitor the situation more so that it doesn't affect daily commuters.

Narendra Singh of Nakasi says bus drivers who service the Nakasi area play loud music all the time.

"These drivers are very smart because they know where police or LTA officers stand during operations and they would turn their volume down when they drive close to those checkpoints," Mr Singh claimed.

"This is becoming a common thing for young drivers who play loud music; they know where to slow down and where to turn their volumes low.

"The authorities should monitor bus drivers who have been issued infringement notices in the past so they can keep tabs on them when they are on the road. I think more needs to be done in addressing this issue."

The Land Transport Authority has acknowledged the existence of the problem in Fiji and is calling on passengers, drivers and bus operators to be considerate of other people who commute by bus.

The authority has also called on passengers, drivers and operators to refrain from making unnecessary noise which could cause inconvenience to the public.

Land Transport Authority acting chairman Ashok Patel said the authority's enforcement teams throughout Fiji were issuing traffic infringement notices (TINs).

"LTA cannot have mobility and visibility 24 hours in seven days, the customers can lodge a complaint by texting the vehicle number, time and location to 582 or report to police for drastic action if traffic offence are created," he said.

"If law enforcement teams have been called to attend a complaint regarding the public service vehicle playing loud music, the driver of the vehicle is issued with a traffic infringement notice for causing undue noise under Regulations 46 and 87 of Land Transport (Traffic) Regulations 2000.

"Loud music is not only a nuisance to the occupants of the vehicle, but it also distracts the driver. The driver can also be issued with a traffic infringement notice for inconsiderate driving under Section 99 (2) and 114 of the Land Transport Act."

The authority highlights as enforcement measures apart from issuing of traffic infringement noticeS, LTA would call all drivers who have offended more than three times for a show cause.

"Before it was a major issue, but now the complains registered had reduced however that does not mean the problem does not exist. We acknowledge there is a problem and therefore we urge members of the public to lodge a complaint with regards to the subject matter," he said.

Island Buses Limited's Ravendra Kewal says young people who board the bus daily always prefer to listen to loud music compared with elderly passengers who prefer to listen to soft music or the radio station at low volume.

"We have told our drivers that they can play music, but it should be at an appropriate volume so everyone can enjoy what's playing on the radio," Mr Kewal said.

Nasese Bus Co. Limited manager Ricky Kumar said they did not allow drivers to play loud music while driving and that volumes are to be kept at a minimum.

"We allow them (drivers) to play music, but they should have common sense. We have received complaints on the issue and we go through the complaints and see which drivers are at fault and then we talk with them about it. We usually have a group meeting with the drivers with police and LTA officers too."

He said, it was up to the Land Transport Authority to give fines to drivers who do not follow simple road rules while driving.

LTA has issued a total of 32 TINs to drivers for causing undue notice, 87 TINs for conduct of drivers and 248 TINs were issued for carrying excess passengers on board.

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