January 21, 2021

The Consumer Council of Fiji has expressed its utter disappointment with news of students being left stranded due to the negligent suspension of services by a Suva based bus operator – without any regard to the safety and security of the students.

Bus companies have a “duty of care” towards their customers and must ensure that they provide this essential service as scheduled. In instances where bus operators are not able to provide services, it is their absolute obligation to issue an alert notifying consumers of any change in schedule or termination/suspension of services for their respective routes.

“The case that has been highlighted in the media of children being left stranded becomes an issue of safety. Parents send their children to school with the understanding that there is a system of transportation that works in their favour and that their children will be transported safely back home,” said Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil.

“Bus companies have a responsibility to their customers and therefore need to have effective systems in place to communicate such changes and in instances of any changes affecting school routes, they must provide prompt notification to school heads and public announcement for parents so that alternative arrangements can be made,” she added.

The Council is also urging schools to do their due diligence and ensure that the school bus services for specific routes are confirmed prior to the beginning of a new school year.
Consumers with grievances against bus services are encouraged to lodge a complaint with the Council through the toll-free number 155 or using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.