Labour Member of Parliament for Nadroga, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi filed an appeal with the Land Transport Appeals Tribunal against the 5% increase granted to all bus operators in Fiji. The increase comes into effect on 1st June 2003.
Mr Vayeshnoi, in the appeal, raises his concern at the 5% increase in the bus fares. The increase, it is argued, is not in the interest of the public.
The basis of the appeal by Mr Vayeshnoi is that the LTA proceeded to consider and grant the increases without proper notice to the public of the application for the increase by the bus operators. The Land Transport Regulations [Section 4 (1)] requires and sets out mandatory provision for the advertisement of an application to the public and due notice of hearing by the LTA.
Regrettably, the LTA failed to advertise the application in breach of the Regulations.
The purpose and interest of the advertisement required allowing the general public to have an opportunity to make representations t the LTA prior to it making any decision. The LTA by failing to advertise has denied the public a right to make such a representation.
The procedure followed at the meeting was also irregular. The Fiji Bus Operators Association made representation on behalf of all bus operators. Regulation 5 (1) of LTA requires the LTA to consider specific application from individual bus operators. In fact, in terms of the regulation, each bus operator is required to justify the increase sought.
The necessary appeal has been filed with the Secretary to the Tribunal. A date of hearing is expected to be assigned soon.
Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi
Member of parliament