Bus company faces investigation after cash fare claims

March 1, 2024 12:52 pm

FCCC Chief Executive Joel Abraham

A bus company is expected to be investigated following claims that one of its drivers was caught accepting cash fare on video.

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Chief Executive Joel Abraham says they will launch the probe after a tourist’s video surfaced on YouTube.

Abraham says this was picked up by their monitoring team.

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He says in the video, the tourist, described as a blogger, claims that cash is the only accepted payment method for buses in Fiji.

Abraham says the video reportedly shows the tourist paying a dollar directly to the bus driver.

The CEO says this is illegal and emphasized the negative consequences of cash fares.

“When you pay cash, the revenue to the bus company drops. And when the revenue to the bus company drops, they come back to us and say our revenue has dropped and the revenue requirement to recoup the return on investment is higher. So when you are paying cash what you are doing is you’re in the longer term increasing the bus sales because this money then goes into black economy. Either the bus driver keeps it or the company shares it or whatever happens to that money is not reported or there is no taxes on it.”

The Land Transport Authority had earlier warned that payment of cash to bus drivers for any fare is illegal and will result in the issuance of TINs and a penalty of $150 to the driver of the bus and the passenger who has paid the cash.

Acting Chief Executive, Irimaia Rokosawa says accepting cash is also a blatant violation of the established cashless payment system for public buses.

He says the system was implemented to enhance efficiency, reduce transaction times, and provide a more secure and transparent mode of payment.