The Consumer Council of Fiji says the call by Taxi Associations for the extreme hike in taxi fares would not only have a huge impact on Fijians, but will also negatively affect the taxi operators.
CEO, Seema Shandil says while the Fiji Taxi Association has called for an increase from the current 10 cents to between 15–20 cents per 100 meters, the Fiji Cabbies Operators Association is calling for an increase to 30 cents for the same.
She says if these increases proposed by the two Associations were to eventuate, a taxi ride that cost $5 now may increase to approximately $8.50 or $12.00 respectively.
Shandil says while the council understands there has been consistent increase in fuel prices over the past few months, the Taxi Associations need to be mindful of the impact a sudden and huge fare increase will have, both on the public transportation industry and the consumers.
She says consumers are already reeling with the increase of the bus fares and high cost of living.
Shandil further says a remarkable increase in taxi fare would definitely see the demand for taxi services decline.
She says as the independent voice of Fijian consumers, the council is also making a submission to Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission to ensure the interests of consumers are taken into account during the current fare review.
There could be a major increase in taxi fare as the Fiji Cabbies Association has made a submission to increase the fare from 10 cents per 100 metres to 30 cents per every 100 metres.
Association President Jai Subash says they want to increase the waiting time to 30 cents per minute and to have a fare review every 5 years or in line with any wage review in the future.
Subash says they have also asked the FCCC for a fuel concession for taxi operators, similarly to what was provided to bus operators.
He says this will bring relief to over 8000 taxi operators in Fiji.
Subash also says the deed of agreement that was signed with the Government 11 years ago has brought the industry to its knees.
He says the industry regulation requires operators to have new vehicles however these vehicles come with a heavy price tag and most of them require diagnostics to find issues.
Subash says this has crippled the operators, some of whom are the sole breadwinners in their family.
Get ready for possible changes to taxi and minibus fares as the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission is now in the process of undertaking a review.
The Commission has invited taxi and minibus operators and members of the public to actively participate in this review by providing their views, comments, and suggestions on current and future taxi and minibus fares.
The General Secretary of the Central Eastern Minibuses Association Yashwardhan Ram says they made a submission to the FCCC in 2020 and made another submission in February this year.
Ram says they have been asking for an increase for over 2 decades now but nothing has eventuated and the fare has remained $1.50 from way back in 2000.
He has also revealed that some drivers have left the industry because they were not happy with the wages.
Fiji Taxi Association’s General Secretary, Ashwin Lal says they want the drop distance to be increased from 10 cents to between 15 to 20 cents for every 100 metres.
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