10 January 2018
City Mayor Andrew Mua speaking to disgruntled bus owners and bus drivers.

Bus owners, drivers want fare increase


HONIARA City Council is considering allowing only the 30 buses that have so far bought their business licences to operate on the one straight road from White River to King George Sixth.

Mayor Andrew Mua revealed this after some bus owners, drivers and conductors protested in front of the HCC office yesterday over the long route.

Mr Mua said since most of the buses have disagreed with the Council’s re-introduced long routes, they may stop any more registrations of buses to operate on the highway.

He said there is nothing to argue about the long routes because it had been used in the past.

“We want to stop short routes, but the buses insist on maintaining them.

“Therefore, we will stop the registration of buses now,” he added.

Most buses argued that the cost of fuel made them to operate on the short routes to make profits at the end of the day.

However, Mr Mua said in the past the cost of fuel is $11 but now it drops to $7.

Furthermore, he said they are still flexible on buses that operate on the outskirts of Honiara.

“Our Bus task-force will need to collect the data on how many buses operate on the outskirts of Honiara.

“From there we will know the exact number of registered buses operating on the outskirt of the city,” he added.

Moreover, Mr Mua said the idea of long route is not a new model adopted from other countries.

He said it’s an old idea which the Council decided to re-introduce it back this year.

Walter Maesugea, who is heading a task-force of bus owners, said they have urged the buses to follow the long routes re-introduced by HCC before producing their demands in future.

Mr Maesugea said it is not good to argue over the long route when the buses have not tried it out.

“It’s good for buses to try out the long routes first before reacting to it,” he told the Solomon Star yesterday.

“When we have the evidence, then we can meet with HCC in future to discuss our demands,” he added.

Mr Maesugea said reacting to the situation will not solve anything because everyone including passengers will suffer if there is no bus service.

Furthermore, Mr Maesugea believes that registering only 30 buses will not be adequate to serve Honiara’s increasing population.

He said the city needs about 80 big buses to adequately serve the public.

However, he said this can be proven if HCC has data of registered buses in Honiara in one year to make a good analysis.