8 Sep 2009

Samoa road switch smooth but marred by bus service disruption

2:01 pm on 8 September 2009

Samoa has this morning made the transition to driving on the left side of the road but some bus owners have stopped services in protest.

Their dispute centres on who will pay for the buses to change their doors to the other side.

But despite resistance and public lobbying against the switch, the change has gone ahead as planned.

Sara Vui-Talitu reports from Apia.

"The issue of buses now having the door on the wrong side is yet to be sorted. There's ongoing concern over the main mode of transport, the bus service, which many farmers and rural people rely on to bring their goods to market. The bus association says its forced to take strike action unless they get financial assistance from the government to fix it, and Samoa's prime minister said today more talks with bus drivers were needed. There's less traffic now on Apia's roads, after this morning's busy switch to driving on the other side, but police are monitoring traffic flows closely especially at roundabouts and key intersections. People are being urged to drive slowly and cautiously over the coming days."