Taxi fare increase-Another burden on consumers

17/10/2011 10:54

With a 100 percent increase in taxi fares now, consumers with no doubt will be facing the full brunt of this since taxi is an essential service.

With the announcement of increase in taxi fare, some consumers need to re-think whether they should be using taxis. Those using taxis will have high expectation as they will be forking out double the amount from next month. The onus is on Fiji Taxi Union to meet the expectation of consumers who must get value for their money.

With 7500 plus taxis in the country, the Fiji Taxi Union should ensure that good condition taxis are running on the road 24 hours a day and not for limited hours only to attain the profit margin set for the day.  Taxi proprietors should be mindful that taxi is a service industry and therefore taxis must serve its clients.

The Council welcomes 20 percent concession on new fare for 20km and less distance travel for all physically challenged and senior citizens. Hence the Council urges relevant authorities to facilitate the issuance of the respective identification cards to the physically challenged and senior citizens before the implementation of new taxi fares next month.

The Council is also notes that the new taxi fare comes along with compulsory use of taxi meters and issuance of receipts. Consumers need to be vigilant in this area and exercise their rights. For any non-compliance, the consumers should note the taxi number and driver details for LTA.  LTA equally needs to be vigilant in this area to ensure taxi owners are abiding by the law.

Many surely will not be able to afford taxi runs now and will resort to bus service. The bus industry thus has a responsibility to make their service convenient, safe and available beyond 7pm and on Sundays. Many areas have the bus serving until 6-7pm only. As a result, consumers are forced to travel in taxis and this limits their travel after 7pm. With more reliance on buses now, the bus industry needs to closely look at all safety aspects including the display of bus time-tables which we hardly see.

With exorbitant rise in the taxi and bus fare, the Council expects public service transport sector to seriously upgrade their fleet and provide the much deserved quality service. There should be no excuse now. Public would like to know how many companies have upgraded their fleet and other companies who are in the process of renewing their fleet.

Poor condition of some taxi and buses is a common sight. This should become a thing of the past now. The Land Transport Authority should ensure all PSVs are in good running conditions with severe monitoring system in place.

Consumers are advised to weigh their travel options and go with the cheapest mode of transport available.