By Omar Bah
Commuters on many routes in the Greater Banjul Area have complained about the sudden decision by drivers to revert to the D8 per trip fares, which was reduced to D7 by government in August.
According to commuters, there has not been any formal warning or announcement about the tariff increase.
“I was forced to pay D8 from Westfield to Traffic Lights and when I refused, there was commotion in the car. Others joined and complained bitterly,” said Lamin Camara, a commuter.
Last night, The Standard went on the beat to find out from the drivers.
Mamadou Bah, a van driver in Serekunda said although he increased his fares based on hearsay, he was very glad to do so.
“I was told it was announced on the radio and since then, I started asking for D8. Nobody has challenged my decision and I am very glad with the new development,” he said.
Ousman Camara, another van driver, said the government should not have reduced the fares in the first place. “I am very glad that the fares have gone back to D8. Whether it was announced or not, I am pleased that the fares are back to normal.”
Salifu Jallow, a taxi driver said it is better for the fares to remain at D8 because there was a slight increment in fuel prices recently.
The Standard also contacted the Ministry of transports where the director of planning Essa Drammeh said his Ministry did not direct any increment in fares even though most of the transport operators had approached them with a proposal for an increment.
“But we too have written to other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Finance. Our position is that any increment or decrease should be done only after consultations among all stakeholders,” he said.
“The Gambia transport union at meeting on Saturday attended by a huge number of drivers recommended an increment but made clear that they did not support the unilateral action by some drivers to increase the tariff.
“It did not come from us,” the Union said in statement shared with The Standard.