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Transportation

Transport plays a critical role in our economy contributing around 10.2% of GDP in the last three years, (2007-2009). It also employs considerable amount of people in both formal and informal sectors with the latter most vibrant in the land transport industry. It also links key social and economic sectors of the economy including resources based industries, education and health.The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to expand to 20% by 2014 once the impact on the economy of the support from EXIM Bank China and EXIM Bank Malaysia comes through.
 
In the next five years, government will pursue vigorously its transport financing with the private sector especially in the area of land transport. In the next year or so, government will be engaging the private sector to go into financing rehabilitation works for existing roads. 
 
Asian Development Bank (ADB) is also assisting government in the establishment of the multi sector regulator to be adopted soon aimed at promoting competition and minimizing externalities. 
 
Through its intent to maintain a healthy relationship with its stakeholders in the Transport Sector, Government had held the 8th Fiji National Consultative Forum in 2009. This forum is targeted to discuss new and pressing issues that will map the way forward to enhance economic growth and employment in the transport sector.

Land Transport

A number of externally financed projects are expected to begin next year such as upgrading of the Buca Bay Road and Nabouwalu/Dreketi road in Vanua Levu and the Sawani/Serea Road, Valley Road, and Moto road in Viti Levu. The upgrading of these roads is expected to provide critical market links for farmers and buyers and substantially reduce costs. In order to enhance the accessibility of our rural dwellers and farmers to generate economic growth, Government, through the Land Transport Authority has made amendments to the Land Transport Regulation which resulted in the deregulation of the Rural Route Licence. This allows public service vehicles to operate under the Rural Service License outside the bus routes in the rural areas
 
Government has also recognized the momentous task of maintaining about 5149km of roads, 763 bridges and major culverts. Historically funding for maintenance has been an issue, receiving approximately about half the required funding creates a backlog to maintenance work. The required funding is estimated to be about $50m. In 2008, $30.14m was received and the expenditure was $29.33.
 
In the annual budget for 2009, the Minister of Finance had proposed charging a Road User Levy from all vehicles which was implemented in the January 2009. This is expected to generate about $15m. It is anticipated that this will provide some additional funding for maintenance work.
 
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has already put in-place two weighbridges to minimize the effect of vehicle overloading. Road safety needs to be relooked at to better address its financing needs and in terms of the safe operations of public service veicles in particular buses, a National Bus review has been conducted however this will have to be further explored with other public service vehicles . In 2007 the fatal road accident toll was 59 with 663 people requiring medical assistance for injuries sustained. Government estimates that Fiji’s economy could be losing up to $400 million dollars each year due to deaths and injury sustained in road accidents. This estimate however does not take into consideration the emotional trauma and the social costs involved when a loved one is lost.
 
In order to control the dreadful effects of pollution from vehicles and promote road safety, Government in partnership with LTA, reviewed its vehicle age policy which resulted in the introduction of “The revocation of old aged vehicles” and the close monitoring of vehicle emissions.
 
The FRUP III project is expected to be completed by early 2012 after the award of the remaining two contracts to Naim Cendera (Malaysia) and Fairdeal Earthmoving Limited with the estimated cost of the contracts put at $59.6million.
 
Alternative Travel

Stronger incentives are required to encourage car pooling. A regular, convenient and affordable public transport mode would entice people to use public transportation hence reducing vehicle congestion and vehicle emission along the main Suva – Nausori corridor.

Stakeholder consultations through the National Transport Consultative Forum are being further explored to adopt the best practices and infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation which is classified as active transportation i.e. cycling and walking. Government is encouraging alternative forms of travel such as public transport, cycling and walking which will have some implications on the fuel dependency of Fiji and the livelihood of the people of Fiji towards healthy living.  


Subsidies and Options

Transport subsidies need to be carefully analysed in light of the pollution cost. There is strong growth in the use of bio-fuels. Fiji has a wealth of natural raw materials for bio-fuel. Coconut Natural Oil in transport has been applied successfully in blends with kerosene and diesel in the region during the past years, in adapted vehicles. We must now reassess our options, realign our priorities and double our efforts to drastically cut down on hazardous gas emissions, and through concerted efforts with the community and stakeholders, improve the air quality in the transport sector.
 

Land Transport Authority of Fiji (LTA)


A number of externally financed projects are expected to begin next year such as upgrading of the Buca Bay Road and Nabouwalu/Dreketi road in Vanua Levu and the Sawani/Serea Road, Valley Road, and Moto road in Viti Levu. The upgrading of these roads is expected to provide critical market links for farmers and buyers and substantially reduce costs. In order to enhance the accessibility of our rural dwellers and farmers to generate economic growth, Government, through the Land Transport Authority has made amendments to the Land Transport Regulation which resulted in the deregulation of the Rural Route Licence. This allows public service vehicles to operate under the Rural Service License outside the bus routes in the rural areas
 
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has already put in-place two weighbridges to minimize the effect of vehicle overloading. Road safety needs to be re-looked at to better address its financing needs and in terms of the safe operations of public service veicles in particular buses, a National Bus review has been conducted however this will have to be further explored with other public service vehicles . 
 
In order to control the dreadful effects of pollution from vehicles and promote road safety, Government in partnership with LTA, reviewed its vehicle age policy which resulted in the introduction of “the revocation of old aged vehicles” and the close monitoring of vehicle emissions.
 
The FRUP III project is expected to be completed by early 2012 after the award of the remaining two contracts to Naim Cendera (Malaysia) and Fairdeal Earthmoving Limited with the estimated cost of the contracts put at $59.6million.
 

Public Transportation

Buses in Fiji are inexpensive, offering a convenient and reliable mode in getting around Fiji. Sunbeam Transport runs express buses which travel either around Viti Levu or to parts of the island. Pacific Transport is another big express bus company offering non-air-conditioned buses between Suva to Lautoka and even further.

The local express buses are normally stationed at bus terminals and stop over in certain towns along the highway for breaks and for certain pick up’s that were not made possible in the town.

Rental cars are readily available in almost all parts of Fiji and come in all styles and conditions according to their hire costs. All the major car hire companies are based at Nadi airport and around towns. Driving in Viti Levu’s highways can be a little tricky given that the roads have more than their share of potholes, sharp curves, and occasional landslides and various animals which stray onto the highway. Cows and horses are a very real danger, especially at night. Also watch for speed bumps known as ‘road humps’. These speed humps are normally located close to villages.
 
There are many taxis available for hire around the city and towns. Taxi drivers are required to switch on their taxi meters when they carry passengers and you may find that some drivers will try and negotiate a fare without switching on their meters. An alternative to taxis are mini buses. These can serve as a fast means of getting from one place to another; however unlicensed mini buses are risky to travel.