Cheaper alternative – Villagers still opt for boat travel over road because of rising fuel costs

Vereto Tubailagi stands beside the telecom main line in Wainilotulevu Village in Namosi. Picture: ATU RASEA

While the villagers of Wainilotulevu have welcomed the new access road, the rising fuel costs deter them from fully making use of it.

Villager Vereto Tubailagi says rather than using road transport, the villagers use boat to travel because it is cheaper.

He said Wainilotulevu was the last village in the Namosi Province and villagers had to hike for almost 5km to get to Sauniwaqa on the banks of the Navua River to get a boat to Navua.

Mr Tubailagi said the journey also had to be done when someone died in the village.

“We have to carry the body almost 5km to the banks to Sauniwaqa to get a boat to Navua to obtain the necessary documents for burial,” he said.

“Once approval is granted, we have to take it all the way back to bury it, and the boat fare is $15 one way.”

With commuting costs increasing day by day, the 59-year-old grandfather has even witnessed a woman giving birth to twins while en route to Navua from the village.

“The truck fare is $20 per person and boat is $15,” he said.

“We used to have a lot of residents before but now there are only 14 households living in Wailotulevu.”

Also Lovate Rokotawa, a truck driver who ferries people to certain interior parts of Namosi and Naitasiri, said they had no choice but to charge higher prices because of the rising fuel costs. |

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