Bus drivers must show compassion and empathy towards all children who board their bus with or without a bus card - Raj

Bus drivers must show compassion and empathy towards all children who board their bus with or without a bus card - Raj

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 01/07/2022
Director of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj - [Photo: Fijian Govt facebook page]

The recent video which has gone viral, showing two young girls walking on a busy highway after being disallowed to board their school bus in Lautoka for not having their bus cards, is disturbing.

Those are the words of the Director of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Ashwin Raj who says bus drivers must show compassion and empathy towards all school children who board their bus with or without a bus card.

The Commission acknowledges the Fiji Bus Operators Association for strongly condemning the inhumane conduct of the bus driver in question.

Raj is urging all key stakeholders – the schools, bus operators and the parents to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all children while in school and after school until they are in the safety of their homes.

He says one can expect children to misplace their cards given that they are children.

The Director says some children may be disabled, on the autism spectrum or generally shy to explain why they don’t have a bus card so the onus is on the bus drivers to ensure these children reach their home safely.

He says drivers can direct their concerns with appropriate authorities so that we have a more effective system in place rather than punishing our children.

Raj says for a bus driver to refuse a child to board the bus especially when the child is not accompanied by his or her parents or guardians is inhumane and such an act must be denounced.

He says these children are particularly vulnerable.

The Director says they could have been kidnapped or physically and sexually abused and simply dumped by the roadside.

Raj stresses that every child has the right to be safe from harm and it is incumbent on all stakeholders to work collaboratively on improving their existing system to ensure that no child is denied space on the bus while travelling to school and back home.


2 girls found walking along the highway in Lautoka after bus driver did not allow them on the bus due to insufficient funds

The two sisters were sharing the card - Kumar
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/06/2022
[Image: Supplied]

Two primary school female students were lost for 3 hours as they were walking along the highway in the Lautoka area after the bus driver did not allow them on the bus because they had insufficient funds in their bus card.

The videos of the two sisters finally being found and crying are being circulated on social media.

The girls are saying that the driver did not allow them to travel as the card was not working.

When contacted, Minister for Education, Premila Kumar says the matter was investigated and it was found that the bus card did not have enough funds because the two sisters were sharing the card. She says one of them had lost the card.

Kumar says the student had lost her card 5 times and on all occasions, the school facilitated the replacement however this time the student did not inform the school.

The Minister says any lost card is replaced immediately as it was done previously for the student.

We are currently trying to speak to the parents of the students.

fijivillage has also contacted the Fiji Bus Operators Association. They will comment soon.



Bus operators do not condone this lack of compassion

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/06/2022
Association General Secretary, Rohit Latchan

The Fiji Bus Operators Association is appalled that two young students were prevented from boarding a bus because their bus cards did not appear to work.

Association General Secretary, Rohit Latchan says bus operators do not condone this lack of compassion and the association is investigating the issue.

The Association also calls on the Land Transport Authority to take action.

Latchan says on the one hand, they understand that drivers must ensure that passengers tap their bus cards and obtain a receipt at the risk of being fined, however, there are cases where discretion, empathy and common sense should be exercised to prevent a situation in which two young students found themselves alone along a busy road late in the day and far from home.




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