Council reacts to call for fare hike

Taxis in Suva. Picture: FT FILE

The Consumer Council of Fiji believes the call by taxi associations for the extreme increase in taxi fares would not only have a huge impact on Fijian commuters, but will also negatively impact the taxi businesses.

The council in a statement highlighted the Fiji Taxi Association had called for an increase from the current 10 cents to between 15 and 20 cents per 100 metres while the Fiji Cabbies Operators Association was calling for an increase to 30 cents for the same.

If these increases proposed by the two associations were to eventuate, a taxi ride which cost $5 would now increase to approximately $8.50 or $12.00 respectively.

The council stated it understood there had been consistent increase in fuel prices over the past few months however the chief executive officer Seema Shandil said the taxi associations needed to be mindful of the impact a sudden and huge fare increase would have – both on the public transportation industry and the consumers.

The international economic situation should not be used as a springboard to demand for extreme fare hikes according to the council.

“Consumers are already reeling with the increase of the recent bus fare and high cost of living due the inflationary pressure emanating from various global factors.

“A remarkable increase in fare would definitely see the patronage or demand for taxi services decline, compelling commuters to opt for cheaper mode of transport.

“Hence, any increase being contemplated must take into account the fact that Fijians are already facing the brunt of the increase in international prices of goods.”

The council, as the independent voice of Fijian consumers, was also making a submission to Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) to ensure the interests of consumers were taken into account during the fare review.

CCoF urged Fijian consumers to also make individual submissions to ensure their views were taken into account.

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