Rowdy students ripped out four bus seats threw them out of the bus, broke windscreen and rear-screen and damage lights in two consecutive nights of unprecedented vandalism on buses, it was revealed yesterday.
The violence took place after the secondary schools zone athletics competition at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.
The manager of Nasese Buses Limited, Nithnesh Prasad, whose buses were vandalised, said these were the worst cases of hooliganism by school students he had come across.
In the first incident on Thursday evening some rowdy students ripped out four bus seats and threw them out of the bus.
In the second incident 24 hours later, some students from another school smashed the windscreen, the rear screen and damaged lights.
Both incidents took place after the Naitasiri/Nausori/Nasinu (NNN) Zone and Suva Zone One athletics competition on Thursday and Friday respectively.
The competition took place at the ANZ Stadium, in Suva.
Mr Prasad expressed fear for the safety of his drivers. The company has contemplated stopping its services temporarily.
“In the first incident two buses were travelling to Nausori carrying students from two schools. When the buses reached the Rewa Bridge, the students in both buses threw two seats from each bus through the window and over the bridge into the river.”
Mr Prasad said the drivers were not aware of what was happening because of the revelry by the students in the bus.
The drivers only found out about the missing seats when passengers boarded the bus in Nausori for a regular trip to Suva.
Mr Prasad said it cost the company $2600 to replace the seats.
It is understood that one of the buses was chartered by a Nausori school.
In the case of the second bus, Mr Prasad said it would not operate at the weekend to allow repair works to be done. The students had smashed the windscreen, rear screen and damaged lights. Repairs are estimated to cost between $1500-$2000.
Each bus not operating would set back the company by $800 a day, Mr Prasad said.
He confirmed the matter had been reported to the Police. Investigations were continuing.
Mr Prasad said: “The young generation are doing this. What will happen in the future? We are investing in all these buses for them. We want them to go to school in good buses.
“This is happening maybe because they lack discipline from home or maybe (from) schools. All we doing is helping them and this is what we get in return.
“If the teachers in schools cannot control students in the class, how can a person driving a bus control more than 80 people in the bus and concentrate on driving? The passengers’ lives are in the drivers’ hands.”
Permanent Secretary for Education Alison Burchell said she would need to see the complaint in writing.
“If the bus driver is saying that, he must get the bus companies to write to us,’’ she said.
“I can’t imagine how students could rip off those seats. Sometimes people have vivid imaginations.
“I won’t comment because it might become a disciplinary issue.’’
Land Transport Authority (LTA) chairman Vijay Maharaj said: “LTA cannot be everywhere in the buses.
“I’m pretty sure the bus owners know who these students are and which schools they go to. It should be reported to the principal so they can be disciplined.
“Bus companies are providing the services. We don’t expect those kind of attitude from the students.’’
Source: Fiji Sun