Taxi fare concession

TAXIdrivers in Fiji have raised their concern on the 20 per cent taxi fare concession scheme and are seeking clarification from the Social Welfare Department on the matter.

Fiji Taxi Association general secretary Rishi Ram said the association had received numerous complaints from members about the concession scheme and how it applied to daily travels.

“We would like to advise the travelling public that the taxi fare concession is only applicable to those passengers that have on production of the Social Welfare ID cards and not to other travelling passengers who might travel with the card holder,” Mr Ram said.

“We are seeking clarification from the Department of Social Welfare that we cannot entertain other physically fit passengers that are accompanying the recipient card holder as this has not been addressed from day one.

“The poor taxidrivers or operators are not been compensated or no money is reimbursed by the government. So here there is no win-win situation and this is questionable.

“The deed of agreement signed on November 7, 2011 between Government and the Fiji Taxi Association clearly states the association together with all its members jointly and severally agree that with effect of the date of commencement of the agreement all taxi operators will provide taxi service at discount rate of 20 per cent of the actual fare to disabled persons, senior citizens, and those persons receiving food or family assistance from the Ministry of Social Welfare. provided these persons are certified and issued with relevant identifications card by the relevant agency. The discount rate shall only be valid for the journey up to the radius of 20 kilometres.”

Taxidriver Jitesh Singh of Nausori said a lot of passengers often thought that the 20 per cent scheme applied to everyone and not just those living with disability and the elderly.

Mr Singh said some passengers used relatives with Social Welfare ID cards to get 20 per cent off their taxi fare charges which was sad.

“It’s important for drivers to know about this schemes and regulations because often taxidrivers get victimised about this issue and other times it’s the passengers that get victimised by drivers too.

There should be a clear understanding on the scheme,” he said.

The Department of Social Welfare hadn’t responded to questions sent on the concession scheme when this edition went to press on Thursday.

Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said if taxidrivers were not honouring the agreement then there was a need for a review of granting concession because the council didn’t want a person living with disability to anticipate something that wasn’t offered to them.

“The council receives two to three complaints a month about the issue,” he said.

Rewa Disabled Association president Litia Naitanui who lives with a disability said when she boards a taxi the drivers never charge her the 20 per cent concession fare.

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