By Louise Jobe
Information gathered from the transport sector indicates an increment in transport fares by commercial drivers since Monday 18th December 2017.
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According to sources at various car parks, they have no choice but to increase transport fares because of the recent increase in the pump price of diesel from D42.00 to D45.00 per liter, elevating to D48.16 per liter; that because of this development in fuel prices, drivers decided to meet as a union to address the issue in order to have something to take home at the end of their daily work; that this is why some drivers decided to carry passengers from Serrekunda to Tabokoto or to Latri kunda instead of going straight to Brikama or to Lamin village.
One passenger who was met at the Brikama car park said they (passengers), are the ones who always suffer the consequences during such situations; that transport fares are always increased without their consent; that a lot of passengers queried with drivers regarding the increment of fares because they did not get the information.
When contacted, Mr. Omar Ceesay, the acting president of the Gambia Transport Union said they contacted the Ministry on two occasions to discuss the issue and even wrote to the Finance Ministry regarding the issue; that the last letter they wrote was on the 1st December 2017. According Ceesay, they listed their problems and organized themselves when they went to the Ministry of Works and Transportation, with representatives from all the seven regions of the country, who are members of the Union; that at the meeting, they indicated the increment in the price of fuel and related issues that affected them as drivers, to the authorities. They noted that they told the authorities they are not making any profit to keep their families.
Mr. Omar Touray, the Assistant Secretary of the Union said the authorities did not listen to the concerns they raise and that they did not reply to them; that they (the authorities), were informed that on Monday 18th December 2017, transport fares will increase.
According to Mr. Touray, they are ready to take up anything that is put to them. When contacted, Mr. Colley from the Works and Transport Ministry said he cannot comment on the issue because he was busy; that the reporter should come back later.