Problems Plague Rollout Of New Fiji eTransport Bus Initiative

Schoolchildren stranded, buses run empty; blame flies in all directions

By Felix Chaudhry

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 3, 2017) – Confusion and chaos were the order of the day as schoolchildren were left stranded, buses ran late and empty, and classrooms recorded low attendance after Government rolled out its eTransport initiative yesterday.

Fiji Teachers Union general secretary Agni Deo Singh said the roll out should have been better co-ordinated.

"The feedback we have received is that the whole fiasco has created nothing but confusion — students were left stranded, parents were unaware and teachers faced great difficulty trying to get things organised," he said.

"The only thing this roll out has done is create havoc at a time when students should have been focusing on their final preparations before exams.

"The manner in which the scheme was introduced has had a negative impact on class time.

"We strongly suggest to the authorities that they take heed and let the transition period go for a while until they get feedback from schools that things have normalised."

[PIR editor's note: On October 3, 2017 Fiji Times reported that 'Blame for the issues faced by the eTransport initiative in only its second day has been placed at the feet of bus companies. ... Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made the claim after the system faced teething problems only a day after its launch by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. ... Yesterday some buses ran empty, some passengers were charged incorrect fares and others were given free rides because of inactive machines. Some around the country had to resort to alternative modes of transport on their morning commute. ... Students without cards were also turned away by bus drivers despite stakeholders insistence on Sunday that schoolchildren be allowed to board irrespective of whether they received their school eTransport cards or not from the Education Ministry. ... Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said these were teething issues. He met the Fiji Bus Operators Association, Vodafone and Land Transport Authority yesterday. ... He said some of the mistakes arising from the eTransport initiative emanated from the fact that certain bus companies did not train their drivers on how to operate the machines.']

Fiji Times Online.
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