Hundreds of commuters were stranded in the streets yesterday. They could not get to their destinations due to a strike by commercial drivers in the country. One could see commuters all over the Greater Banjul Area because they had no transport.
The drivers are son strike to demand among other things that they be allowed to resume carrying the number of passengers they are licensed to carry. They claim that they are losing a lot of money because of the regulations imposed on them by government.
The drivers claim that as far as government has eased the restrictions on markets and places of worship and that people are frequenting these, they see no reason why they should continue to suffer losses like this. Thus, they want government to ease the restrictions and allow them to carry their usual number of passengers.
On face value, one may be tempted to have some empathy with the drivers as they also depend on their daily earnings to feed their families. But on a closer look one wonders whether they truly have a cause to complain.
For starters, the restrictions were put in place in order to save everyone – including them – from the dreaded coronavirus the spread of which could potentially cause a great number of deaths in the country. As it is all over the world, governments put in place these measures to protect their people.
Secondly, since the regulations came into effect, there has been a huge reduction in pump prices for fuel which means drivers had a leeway whereby they can earn some money plying the roads on that reduced number of passengers.
The excuse that places of worship have been opened is lame because even that opening comes with some restrictions. For instance, people going to the mosques or churches must wear masks, wash their hands before entering and maintain the social distancing while worshipping.
Considering the fact that the number of coronavirus cases seems to be on the rise, it would be foolhardy to just go back to the normal way of doing things. This coronavirus is a killer and no government wants to see its people die in the hundreds. Drivers should therefore exercise patience and go back to work in order to protect everyone.