By Lincoln G. Peters
Several commercial drivers staged a peaceful protest early Monday, 20 September 2021 in Monrovia, expressing their opposition to the reduction in transport fares by the government here.
The protesting commercial drivers peacefully assembled at the Ministry of Transport and expressed their disappointment against the reduction, saying they are finding it difficult to make their ends meet.
They complained that they have been restricted to transport four passengers in a taxi cab at a time, and they are paying high fees for driver’s license and vehicle registration, adding that the reduction in transportation fare is causing serious harm to their economic survival.
The aggrieved drivers, some of whom are in traffic as contractors, indicated that they report about LD$3,000 to LD$4,000 to their bosses, in addition to making other expenses that include buying gasoline which according to them, is sold LD$640.00 per gallon.
Two spokespersons for the protesting commercial drivers, James Masselay and Abrehah Mohammed Kiazolu said the drivers have nothing to take home to their families, suggesting that they want to return to transporting five passengers in a taxi cab if the fare reduction should continue.
According to them, they were paying US$30.00 for a driver’s license for two years and US$150 for car registration, but they are now paying US$40 for a driver’s license and US$175 for vehicle registration.
The protesters lamented that this is seriously killing them, calling on the Government of Liberia to ensure that commercial drivers can benefit from something good.
“They have told us to do a formal, written communication concerning our plight and they will respond to us in another scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 22, 2021,” the group told reporters.
They noted that if their plights are not taken into consideration, they will get back on the street and continue with a massive protest which will be followed by a go-slow.
Responding to the drivers’ concerns, Transport Minister Samuel Wlu said he is having conversations with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to see how best they can brainstorm within the next six months to handle issues surrounding the importation of car parts and gasoline, among others.
He noted that the issues about three passengers in the backseat of a taxi cab is beyond his power, adding that it’s a decision that was taken by the Health Ministry in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the country.
“We will talk with you people in the next [few] days from now through your leaders. We will make sure that these concerns are addressed adequately in order to help drivers to have something to take home for them and their families,” Minister Samuel Wlu concluded.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/police-teargas-protesting-drivers/–Edited by Winston W. Parley