Commuters in Montserrado County District#11 are frustrated over persistent hike of transportation fares by commercial drivers, lamenting that the pump price of a gallon of gasoline in the country has dropped, but drivers keep fares upward.
Speaking to the New Dawn Thursday, 17 January a group of commuters complain that though the government recently announced a reduction in gasoline price, transportation fares across Monrovia and parts adjacent still remain exorbitant.
One of the commuters, Bill Willie, notes that commercial drivers are still charging the same high fares when the pump price of gasoline was up, something he describes as exploitation. “When the gasoline was $580 and $600LD, we were paying $130 or $140 from Barnesville Estate to Central Monrovia, now the gasoline price has dropped to $500 and in some places $510, we are still paying the same fare. The government needs to step in too and put a stop to these drivers that are exploiting us”, he emphasizes.
He calls on the Ministry of Transport to regulate transport fares to stop drivers from stealing from commuters, noting that just as the Commerce Ministry announced reduction in petroleum price, the Transport Ministry should correspondingly act to ensure fare are equally adjusted downward to bring relief to the public.
Mr. Willie reminds that the government is for the poor, so they shouldn’t be the ones suffering most.
A female commuter, Grace Mensah from Area ‘F’ community, District#11, recalls when the gasoline price was high, drivers at a point parked their cars, including operators of tricycles, demanding a reduction in price, but now that the prices have been reduced, they don’t adjust fares.
“The ‘killer bean’ bus comes earlier in the morning and not everyone of us are opportune to get it that earlier, so we are forced to ride taxi, and from Barnesville to town is too expensive, which everyone of us cannot afford”, Grace explains.
However, a taxi driver, Eric Blama, counters that gasoline is not the only reason for stepping up fares. He says drivers or car owners buy spear parts and carry out other maintenance works on their cars, which are similarly expensive.
He acknowledges the reduction in gasoline price, but further explains due to traffic congestion, they spend long hours in the traffic enroute to town, which caused them to burn more gas per trip.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne