‘Service’ gone from service stations

20/12/2011 14:40

SERVICE stations are no longer what they used to be. Apart from many switching over to self-service, many service stations no longer provide the services that they used to be associated with.

A Consumer Council survey of 32 service stations around the country found problems with two amenities that motorists rely when entering a service station. These were the air pumps and water tap.

The survey was conducted in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa based on consumer complaints that service stations did not have air pumps that were in working condition. Consumers have to drive from one service station to another looking for air pumps and water taps.

The Survey involved Council staff visiting the service stations to gauge whether air pump and water tap was available to motorists when filling up at a service station.

Out of the 32 service stations surveyed, 13 (40%) did not provide accessible (locked with no message) and always-ready air pumps.

Interestingly for 23 service stations surveyed in the Suva – Nausori corridor, 12 i.e. 52% did not provide easy access to air pumps or these were not in working order. Out of this number, 8 only provided air pumping service when asked for as opposed to the familiar system where this is accessible and readily available for customers. The air pumps were either locked or situated in an area that was not accessible to customers. No message was placed for customers to know that “they could ask for the usage of air pumps or taps”. Three out of the 23 service stations (Supreme Fuel Mead Road & Mobil Mart in Nabua, Total Nabua) surveyed in Suva did not provide air pumps or taps and two had faulty air pumps (Total in Makoi and Pacifik in Walu Bay)which were not in service for a while.

In Lautoka all three service stations surveyed had air pumps available, however one had a faulty air pump which was awaiting repairs.

In Labasa, out of the six service stations surveyed, two charged 50cents if service station attendant assisted in the air pump and change of tyres if needed. One had no proper gauge for the air pump, although it was working well.

Out of the 32 service stations, 2 had water taps that were not working while two had their taps inaccessible and only available when customers asked for these.

The Council is urging service station operators to provide these services if they want to operate in this sector. Consumers are increasingly facing problems of non-functioning or missing air pumps and water taps, and are beginning to wonder whether these places should be called ‘service’ stations at all.

The Council hopes that the Fiji Fuel Retailers Association will take into consideration festive season and urge its members to provide air and water service to motorists.