Humiliation and abuse continue to be dished out at people living with disability.
An official of the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) has witnessed these as public service vehicle drivers bypassed her while waiting for transport.
“I live in Vunivau, Labasa and sometimes when the bus driver sees me waiting for the bus it hesitates to stop and at times pass remarks like when I take my time to get off he says ‘jump out from the bus’,” said FNCDP office administrator of the Labasa office Monisha Rao.
Ms Rao said many bus and taxi drivers in Labasa did not understand that people with disabilities had the same rights as able bodied people for the use of concession cards.
30-year-old Ms Rao during her submission on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill to the Standing Committee on Social Affairs said she had been humiliated by taxi and bus drivers numerous times.
“I have physical disabilities, finding difficult to walk like normal people and so its takes me a while to walk,” Ms Rao said.
“In one incident I showed the concession card and the bus driver questioned me ‘what is this?’; ‘we don’t about this’; you have to pay the full fare.
“When I sit in a taxi and show my concession card, the driver laughs at me and forces me to pay the full fare.”
When FijiSun contacted the Fiji Bus Operators Association president Parmod Chand, he said bus drivers needed to be passenger friendly.
“If Ms Rao’s complaint is found to be true, I must say that kind of attitude of bus drivers cannot be condoned,” Mr Chand said.
Fiji Taxi Association (FTA) general secretary Rishi Ram has issued a warning to all taxi drivers to abide by the deed of agreement which was signed in 2011.
“Under the deed of agreement the driver who refused to provide service to underprivileged, senior citizens or anyone with a social welfare identification card (ID) will be taken to task and will face the full belt of the law,” Mr Ram said.