By Abdoulai G. Dibba
Commuters plying the Barra Farafenni route have informed this medium that transport fares are still the same as they have been during the former regime in the North Bank Region, despite recent instructions and new tariff, given by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure to reduce the fares.
According to Yahya Fofana, drivers still adamantly charge passengers to pay the former tariff instead of the new one and that this is unfair.
Fofana said the new tariff of D35 from Barra to Kerewan, D45 from Kerewan to Farafenni and D80 from Barra to Farafenni, is not been complied with by the drivers plying the North Bank. Sulayman Sanno of Suwareh Kunda asserted that the drivers charge them D40 from Barra to Kerewan and D50 from Kerewan to Farafenni; that this is unacceptable because the new tariff is D35 for Barra to Kerewan and D45 for Kerewan to Farafenni respectively.
He called on the authorities to address this issue because the North Bank Region is in isolation from the rest of the country.
Other people who spoke to this medium shared the same view and called on the Police to help them.
Commenting on the issue, Sherifo Hydara a police officer indicated that the police in the region are aware of drivers charging passengers the old tariff instead of the new one; that they are able to do this because they employ tactics in doing so.
He pointed out that drivers sometimes wait until they pass police check points and request for fares from passengers; that if they insist on paying the new tariff, they will stop in the middle of nowhere and tell the passengers that they will not continue the journey. He added that this has resulted in quarrels between drivers and passengers and they cannot turn a deaf ear to this because they are there to maintain peace and order.
Readers will recall that the Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Bai Lamin Jobe, announced that with effect from 21 August 2017, all transport tariffs and fares will be reduced.
However, the Commuters of the North Bank Region indicated that they are yet to enjoy the reduction in fares.