‘Our hearts are crying’

Taxdriver Ami Chand at the Suva bus stand taxi base. Picture: WATA SHAW

Taxidrivers say the ongoing rise in fuel prices is making it very difficult to earn enough to feed their families.

“Our hearts are crying but nobody seems to be listening to us,” said 68-year-old Ami Chand as he sat at the boot of his car waiting for customers at the Suva bus stand base.

As of yesterday, motorists began forking out $3.67 per litre, 23 cents per litre more than the $3.44 they were paying in July.

Mr Chand said the increase would drive many taxidrivers further into poverty.

“I can earn around $100 a day and I fill about $50 to $70 a day for fuel,” he said.

“The leftover $40 is not enough as I also look after my grandchildren. All our money goes to paying fuel and there’s not much left for our family to eat.”

He said the increase in flag fall charge by 50 cents in taxi fares was not enough to counter the rising fuel prices.

“I’m here working six days a week to be able to put money in the bank and pay for my grandchildren’s things which I otherwise would not be able to afford.”

Another cabbie, Dhamendra Chand, echoed similar sentiments.

“Sometimes we can’t afford to fill our car because we don’t have money for fuel,” the 47-year-old said.

“If we don’t earn then our family will be the ones who are affected but we can’t do much. “I really feel sorry for those who go home with $20 or less as for some of us this is our only source of income.”

The new prices announced by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission for refined fuel products came into effect yesterday (August 1, 2022) with motor spirits at $3.67 per litre — an increase of 23 cents, premix at $3.47, up from $3.23 per litre, kerosene is retailing at $2.89 — an increase of 39 cents per litre and diesel at $3.61 per litre — an increase of 47 cents.

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