By Kebba Secka
Recent increment in the pump price of fuel, has resulted to the return of transport fares to the previous amount of D8. This is the second time the pump price of fuel has increased within two weeks.
On 20th May this year, Foroyaa published the prices of fuel showing a rise in diesel price to D53.33from D52.40. And the price varied at different stations across the country. Going by records, the pump price of fuel has increased since October 2017. Since then, the price for fuel has and remained the same at all fuel stations visited by this reporter. However, unlike previous price increments, this one showed no difference in fuel price at various pumping stations.
Mr. Omar Ceesay of the Gambia Transport Union and fellow members said they will be abiding by the tariff for fares announced by Government on GRTS; that this is the same as the previous tariff before the reduction of fares on 21st August 2017 and will take effect as from today, Monday June 4th.
Speaking to drivers and customers on the return of transport fares to previous amount, yielded mix reactions. Some drivers accepted the idea of returning the fares to the previous amount while others said fares should be fixed at a reasonable amount so that the frequent changes in the price of fuel, will not affect both driver and passenger.
“Left to me alone, fares will be fixed at a flat rate since fuel prices can increase at any time. It is a problem giving out coins as change and we urge the authorities to make the fares D10 flat because fuel is on the increase,” said Modou Njie, a van driver.
Another driver added his voice to Njie, saying commercial drivers need help, so that whenever fuel prices increase, fares will always be stable. Colley explained that passengers often think that drivers are the ones increasing fares but that this is not correct.
Passengers also raised their concerns on fares being returned to the previous amount. The passengers who spoke to this reporter lament the double fares that drivers unscrupulously charge for the same trip or sometimes even triple the fares.
Fatou Janneh, a student and Mariama Khan, a housewife, both appealed to the drivers to stop asking double fares for the same trip.
“I am appealing to the authorities and drivers to stop asking for two fares for the same trip, especially in this holy month of Ramadan,” said Kan.
Other passengers who spoke to this reporter urged the authorities and drivers to respect the tariff and abide by it. They said commercial drivers are just left unchecked by the authorities and that is why they keep charging double fares for one trip blatantly.
As readers can recall, a Press release issued on 11th August 2017 indicated that transport fares for passengers within the country was reduced by 15%; National Cargo and Goods according by 12% and Regional Cargo and Goods by 10%.
At that time, the D8 fares within the greater Banjul was reduced to D7. Passenger fares at every destination was reduced until the recent tariff. The previous tariff came into effect on 21st August 2017, and this was according to a press release from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure.