Transport businesses await New Year's bustle

Public transportation businesses say they are waiting expectantly for the regular business to return with the new year. 

After a period of not only holiday downtime but also the national state of emergency, the nation has been in slow motion for more than a month, businesses say. 

Bus drivers and taxi drivers told Samoa Observer that it was great to see more people on the streets on Monday as work was beginning to officially start again and young people were officially given permission to move freely. 

Prior to the lifting of state of emergency restrictions on December 29, children's free movement had been restricted. 

One of the taxi drivers the Samoa Observer talked to, Si'omia Soulu from Sa'anapu Maugama'a Taxi Stand, said earnings were slow during the measles epidemic.

"The only time business started to pick up again was Christmas time when [the] state of emergency was lifted again," said the 47-year-old.

"But also for the [days over New Year], it really slowed down again and it can still be seen right now, despite people being back to work starting today (Monday).

"Days have been really slow lately, for us who live off this but hopes are high that busy days pick up soon.

"There's change with works starting again but it is not going as well as how it was before the measles epidemic.

He mentioned that it is even tougher for drivers as petroleum retail prices have also been increased for the month.

Regular petrol has increased by 7.65 sene per litre, from $2.67 to $2.74.

The price of diesel has also increased by .59 sene but the rounded up per-litre prices will remain the same at $2.74.

A driver of the Manono Uta bus, Mulipola Vasa Mulipola, 38, told the Samoa Observer that business is starting to pick up for the buses but it will take some time to get back to normal business.

"From October up to now, earnings from the bus [have] been really low, due to unforeseen circumstances like the measles epidemic, pulling down the trend," he said.

"But the important thing is that we were still earning some money, with three round trips, it gave us onions and sugar for the family.

"And right now, because people are only starting to turn up and [work is] coming back on, it is still slow but we look forward to better days."

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