The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts has received queries from some students and parents regarding the blue subsidized cards not having enough funds to cater student travel despite the Ministry topping up cards for the entire term at the start of each term.
Upon receiving these queries, the Ministry investigated the matter internally and found that there were several instances where students had been charged more than the required amount of funds per trip. The maximum (Stage 3 new fare) fare per trip that should be charged is $1.05 for Taveuni and 99 cents for Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.
The Ministry has come across instances whereby students are charged more than $10 per trip and in some instances up to $20 per trip.
The Ministry is urging students to check that the value of the fare is correct before tapping their cards. Parents are also urged to check the bus fare receipts of their children to ensure that correct fares are being charged and to highlight this to the relevant stakeholders in case incorrect fares are charged.
The Ministry also asks that Heads of Schools and teachers to create awareness in schools so that students understand and are aware of their responsibility when using the subsidized bus fare cards correctly.
Teachers should also conduct regular checks to ensure that students have their blue cards and assist those who may not.
The Ministry will work with other key agencies to ensure that the funds provided are utilized for its intended purpose and that no student is deprived of the right to have access to the assistance provided by the government.
The Ministry is urging parents and students to be vigilant and to check daily the value of the fare charged while using the blue subsidized cards.