August 4, 2009

Fares to Go Up

Fares go up
By ASHWINI PRASAD - Tuesday, August 04, 2009

COMMUTERS will have to dig deeper to meet transportation costs from tomorrow. Yesterday the Transport Ministry announced bus fares would increase by an overall average of 13 per cent, with taxi flagfalls and waiting rates to also increase. This follows a decision to cut back on the number of fare stages across the country by, in most cases, merging fare stages. The changes will result in an increase in some areas by up to 25 per cent. For example, fares in Suva and Lautoka will now cost either 70 cents or $1 for adults, with school bus fares at 50 per cent of the new adult fare. This follows the merging of the Suva and Lautoka stages 1 and 2 50 cents and 70 cents into a single stage. That single stage (the new Stage 1) will cost 70 cents from tomorrow. The current Suva and Lautoka City Stage 3 (75 cents) will from tomorrow be called Stage 2 and cost $1.
In other parts of Viti Levu, adult fares for stages 1 and 2, previously 50 cents and 70 cents, will now be counted as a single stage Stage 1 attracting a fare of 70cents. The current Viti Levu stages 3 and 4 (85 cents and $1.05) will be merged into a new Stage 2, attracting a charge of $1.15. The bus fare changes continue merging in this manner right through to the current Viti Levu Stage 79 $16.90 which from tomorrow will become Stage 40, attracting a fare rate of $17.75. For Vanua Levu the current 64 fare stages have been merged into 32 stages. Taxi fares will also rise, with the industry granted an increase in the flagfall of 50 cents, while the waiting rate will be 10 cents per minute. The Transport Ministry said the increases were the result of the devaluation and increases in fuel prices.
Fiji Bus Operators Association president Zain Dean welcomed the increase but refused to comment any further on the matter. Attempts to contact Fiji Taxi Union general Secretary Rishi Ram remained unsuccessful last night.

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