A young woman narrowly escaped death after jumping out of a moving bus on Wednesday night when the bus driver refused to drop her at her stop.
The woman, in her mid-twenties, is now in medical care at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) with several broken bones and a head injury.
The incident occurred after 10.30PM at Au Bon Marche Manples Federation.
According to the Public Land Transport Authority (PLTA), the offender was driving a white Toyota Hiace bus (commonly referred to as a ‘box’ bus) with an associate sitting at the front passenger seat.
The victim and her friend, both employees at Au Bon Marche Tassiriki, had stopped the bus there around 10.30PM. Her friend got off at Ohlen leaving the young woman alone with the two men.
The victim claimed the bus had refused to stopover after she indicated her stop at ABM Manples bus stop.
Alarmed and terrified, she opened the door and leaped out onto the passenger sidewalks, throwing herself over the cement pavement.
ProMedical Emergency Service arrived at the scene a few minutes after the incident to check on her vitals and to transport her to the hospital.
Daily Post understands that the woman is progressing well from a crucial to a stable condition.
The PLTA claimed the victim has recollected a few information about the driver, saying the driver has mentioned traveling back to Nambatu area which means the driver could be residing at Nambatu.
The victim did not memorise the bus registration number but her friend who travelled with her claimed to have recognised the driver’s face as she departed at Ohlen.
Vanuatu’s online magazine for women, Sista, shared the distress of the incident and hoped this could be seen as a wake-up call to the society of the importance in addressing violence against women and girls on public transports.
In commemorating Children’s Day this year, the Ministry of Education and Training, and Sista had launched an essay competition for Secondary students, Year 7 and above on the proposed essay question: How would you address violence against women and girls on public transport?
“One thing Sista is advocating for is women safety on public transport, particularly at night time,” said Yasmine Bjornum, the editor of Sista.
“Generally, the Police would make comments that encourages girls to avoid stopping a bus at night and to also memorise the bus registration number, but in theory, that is not a girl’s responsibility.
“A girl has every right to stop a bus at night.
“The authorities especially the Public Land Transport Authority is taking a stand against violence caused against women on public transport by appealing to every bus drivers to bear in mind the consequences and to respect the term – Gender Equality.”
Accidents continue to be a leading cause of serious injury and death. The PLTA is strongly appealing to everyone with information on the Bus driver or the owner to call 7778633/5489241 immediately.
The PLTA also reported an alleged rape case involving two boys on a bus at Erakor on Wednesday night.
In this case, the bus owner’s name, contact details and the vehicle registration number were given to the police.
The PLTA further emphasised on the importance of noting the registration number of a bus so it can be tracked down with the driver’s information, in order for the culprit to be apprehended and penalised.