by Vanessa Knight – EM TV, Port Moresby
Overcharging of PMV fares resulted in a nasty incident yesterday at the Unagi Park, where a child was hospitalised with serious injuries, and several PMV busses and taxis were damaged.
Passengers rioted against PMV drivers who took advantage of a situation, which prompted a shortage of public transport early in the morning, by charging K2 per passenger, instead of K1 as per commissioned by the Land Transport Department.
Yesterday morning, PMV users were affected by a shortage of public transport, which occurred when a fleet parade of vehicles contracted as transport for athletes during the Pacific Games, involving over 70 PMV busses, was conducted in the city.
The parade left a slight shortage of buses left to operate on their normal routes.
Several PMV’s took advantage of the situation by charging passengers double the normal fare, which resulted in a clash between angry passengers and PMV operators.
Metropolitan Superintendent, Andy Bawa, told EMTV News that as a result, a child confirmed to be from Central Province is currently nursing a broken leg in hospital, after being run over by an angry bus driver.
Several buses and taxis also ended up with broken windows and dents, caused by rocks thrown by angry passengers.
Bawa says his men have launched an investigation into the incident, and arrests on suspects who have been identified, are expected to be made soon.
Mr Bawa said despite the commencement of the Pacific Games next week, all PMV fares must remain the same and operators who overcharge passengers can be arrested for overcharging and lose their PMV licenses.
With only 7 more days to go before the Games, Bawa says it is important for the public transport system to retain as much normalcy as it can, despite an expected shortage of PMV’s during the Games.
He assures that police operations during the event will also focus on the city’s public transport system, to ensure that no overcharging of passengers is NOT tolerated.
A conference will be held on Monday for the release of police security and traffic logistics plans.