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Mixed reactions to fare hike

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Do you use public transportation? If the answer is yes, you should be prepared to pay more starting next month.

It follows an announcement by the government that the cost of using taxis and buses will be increased by 30 per cent next month.

It means that if your current bus fare is $1, when the increase becomes effective, you will pay $1.30.

That’s a $130 for a taxi fare that currently costs $100. Not everyone is happy about the change. Taxi driver, Leilua Tafisi, from Pata Falelatai and Tulaele, said the increase would discourage people from using public transport.

“I don’t think anybody would want to go by taxi anymore,” he said.

“Thirty per cent is just too much. It is thirty tala more if your fare is a hundred tala and that is a lot of money.”

According to Leilua, taxi drivers had been asking for a fare increase for quite some time. “But we didn't want it to be this much,” he said. “This means we won’t be able to get any more passengers as they would more likely take the buses.”

Leilua said his family’s bread and butter depends on his job. “This is my only way to make money,” he said. “From what I can see, it’s not going to be a bright future.

“If this is the case, I don’t know where else to go. Life nowadays is way too expensive and now we have another increase.”

Passengers are equally unhappy. Moe Malo Simiti from Toāmua is one of those people who loves to catch a taxi.

“A taxi is faster and it’s also not crowded but if that is the case then I don’t think I would catch a taxi again,” she said.

“Thirty percent is too much and with everything else that’s been increased lately the people cannot afford it.

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“Thirty percent is too much and with everything else that’s been increased lately the people cannot afford it.

“It’s okay to increase taxi fares because these people also have families of their own to look after, but 30 per cent it’s just way too much.”

Moe said the government should reconsider.

Another taxi driver, who did not want to be named, said he could only see the dark side of the increase.

“Thirty per cent?” he asked. “I don’t think anyone would want to catch a taxi now.

“Everyone will choose to catch the bus if this increase is enforced by next month.

Nobody would want to catch a taxi even if they are late to work or school, they would rather be late than paying more on a taxi than a bus.

He added: “Please L.T.A and the government, can you reconsider the increase for the sake of the public and especially the taxi drivers because we have families to look after and children to put in schools.

But his opinion is not shared by Tai Moeloto Afa who told the Samoa Observer that 30 per cent is “peanuts.”

“That’s not enough,” she said. “It should be 50 per cent upwards. Looking at the price of petrol today, it’s just not enough.

“For example, from Vaimoso to Apia is only $3 and if our boys go three times to town that means they will only get $9.

“We cannot put $9 petrol in our cars. The L.T.A should increase taxi fares by 50 per cent taking into consideration the price of petrol.”

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