It’s one of the most frustrating things about driving in Samoa.
You’re cruising down the road nicely and all of a sudden the bus in front of you stops dead on its track.
The driver oblivious to the fact that there is a queue on his tail. And he takes his time picking up his passengers – or dropping them off. What’s even more frustrating is that he will repeat the exercise every so often.
Are you familiar with this experience? Are you frustrated by it? Of course you are. We all are. Who isn’t?
What’s worse is that the Government has already designated certain areas for buses to stop yet they choose to ignore them.
This type of careless driving has led to people being late for work, school and getting home; interferes with people’s daily lives; and sometimes even causes accidents when frustrated motorists attempt to overtake the bus by crossing onto the opposite lane.
Today, the Samoa Observer caught up with some frustrated motorists to get their views on this issue and what they feel should be done to prevent this from continuing.
Saofa’i Fuimaono, a taxi driver from Faleula, said this has been allowed to continue for too long.
“These bus drivers don’t care about the road rules which is why they break it,” he said. “Everyone including the bus drivers know that they must turn to the side properly into designated bus stops before they can pick up passengers.”
Mr. Fuimaono said there are a lot of risks for motorists.
“What happens if the bus stops all of a sudden like they usually do and then the car right behind it crashes into it? This will most likely cause all other cars following behind to crash one after the other.”
“The bus drivers should realize that the costs of the accidents this could cause outweighs the $1 tala they would get from that one passenger.
“Also when buses stop all of a sudden in the middle of a busy road they will cause lots of traffic and everyone will have to wait for them to get their passengers in and have them seated before they can continue on with their day.” “It’s funny because when you think you’re in the clear then a few meters later they stop again.” Mr. Fuimaono also blames the people who are catching the buses.
“Many people would just walk to the road in front of their houses and try stopping the buses which is dangerous. They should walk to designated areas for buses and wait there to eliminate the risk to all other motorists.”
“The Land Transport Authority (LTA) should start enforcing their laws more.” For Saulaulu Moananu, the issue is annoying and frustrating. “When the bus drivers do that it just frustrates me especially when the roads are under construction like the one at Vaitele,” he said.
“When the bus blocks the roads under construction it causes so much traffic because there is nowhere else the other motorists can go. This will somehow cause an accident one day and I blame the ignorant Samoan mindset.”
Saulaulu has his mind made up that the solution lies with L.T.A.
“The only way to fix this is through authorities such as the L.T.A strengthening and upholding road rules.” “They (L.T.A) should start issuing more tickets to bus drivers who break the law because if the drivers start getting more tickets then it will be a wakeup call for them.”
Fili Brewster, a government worker at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) in the Disaster Management Office (D.M.O) division explained how this issue always gets in the way of his work.
“I don’t understand what’s going on in the bus drivers minds because the government has already designated areas for them to stop,” he said.
“My job at D.M.O requires a lot of traveling and a lot of times when I’m rushing to different locations the buses are always getting in the way. Every time I’m caught behind a bus when they stop it wastes a lot of time.
“Sometimes when I’m in the office out of town and I get called in to a meeting in our town office I always get held up by buses. These drivers don’t realize how much negative impact they are having on the lives of many Samoans.”
“They are doing their jobs but get in the way of other peoples jobs.”
Mr. Brewster also believes that the bus drivers should start weighing up the cost of one passenger against the cost of tickets they would get from breaking the rules. It was not possible to get a comment from the L.T.A yesterday.