Crowded carrier ride

A RSL carrier loaded with school students makes its way up the Kavanagasau road in Sigatoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

A RSL carrier loaded with school students makes its way up the Kavanagasau road in Sigatoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

ABOUT 125 students from the Mavua district in Navosa have been finding it hard to travel to and from school every day.

The students are forced to travel in a three-tonne truck that cannot cater for all of the students travelling from five communities to Mavua District School, Kavanagasau Primary School and Kavanagasau Secondary School.

Mavua district spokesperson Ifereimi Turukawa said the vehicle had to travel twice every morning to transport students to their respective schools.

“There is only one RSL servicing these students,” he said.

“Every morning we see students hanging out of the carrier because there is not enough space for them,” he said.

“We have young children in Year 1 sitting in this small space because they cannot go by bus.

“There is a bus that comes every morning but it only takes adults to work — no schoolchildren.

“The tickets the students are given at school are only for the RSL. So we have a bus that is travelling with enough space but the children can’t use it.”

Mr Turukawa made a plea to the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, during a talanoa session in Navosa last week.

When queried if the students had access to free bus cards, he said the students were not using the bus cards. He said a second RSL vehicle was needed to transport the students.

RSL driver Ziad Ali said the road conditions had provided a great challenge for students and carrier drivers.

“I make six trips every day taking students from home to school and back,” he said.

“It’s been like this for about two months. I take about 125 students from Vunarewa, Nabitu settlement, Lokia, Mavua Village and Raiwaqa settlement.

“When it starts raining, the road becomes like a river but we still have to cross it because I have to take the students to school.”

A representative from the Land Transport Authority said in the informal discussion that the same plea for a second RSL was made before the Prime Minister in Sigatoka during a joint a public consultation with the iTaukei Lands Trust Board last month.

The official said they were waiting for the green light from the Prime Minister’s office before they could issue the licence.

Mr Bainimarama issued a directive that the RSL be given immediately.

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