VANUATU COMMUTERS PROTEST HIKE IN BUS FARES

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$1.50 hike beyond reach for many riders

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 3, 2008) – As Port Vila prepares for a 50 percent hike in public transport charges, the Vanuatu Government is being told it must step in because the people cannot cope with such a rise.

Manina Packete, the chair of the National Council of Women, is supportive of the drivers, who need the increase, but many patrons will not be able to afford the rise to 150 vatu, or around one dollar 50 US.

She says the Government needs to take action over the poor quality of the roads which often leave drivers with additional repair charges.

Ms Packete says the Government has to also come to the aid of the drivers over the cost of fuel, because the public will struggle to meet higher charges.

"We have to travel every morning, every lunch and back to the work place at half past one and back home at half past four, five o’clock we will end up [being charged] six hundred vatu each day. So I don’t think we can afford this amount of 150 vatu."

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