Confusion has ensued between drivers of the government-run National Transit Authority (NTA) and drivers of commercial buses commonly referred to as ‘killer bean’ on Buchanan Street, Central Monrovia.
Our reporter who witnessed the showdown recently, disclosed that the conflict started after some drivers of commercial transport buses accused their counterparts from the NTA buses of always stealing passengers that wait on their buses.
A commercial bus driver, Mohammed Keita, lamented that the public buses, that charge reduced fares, pose difficulty for commercial drivers to generate their daily reporting money.
Drivers of the NTA buses charge a flat-rate fare of LD50.00 for each trip in central Monrovia and adjacent areas unlike private buses whose fares are higher.
He also notes that in some instances, passengers already on their buses would disembarked their buses as soon as they sees the arrival of NTA buses at the Buchanan Street parking station.
Mohammed explained that as way of drawing attention of drivers of the NTA, they decided not to move their buses from the parking lot thus, leaving no space for the public buses to also park and collect passengers.
He complained they spend too much money to purchase fuel for their buses, but can’t generate the daily required money for their bosses.
But, NTA drivers denied the claim being made by commercial buses drivers, saying at no time they lured passengers to disembark from commercial buses.
BarteeNagbe, explained the longest period a NTA bus stays at the Buchanan Street parking station is less than five minutes, as compared to privately-owned commercial buses that park for a longer period.
Nagbe argued that the Buchanan Street parking station belongs to buses involved in transportation business, including NTA buses, so he sees no reason why their colleagues from the private buses want to keep them away.
He called on the Ministry of Transport, the government entity responsible to regulate vehicles’ operations in the country to intervene in the matter to ensuring that peace exists amongst both NTA and commercial buses.
However, some passengers who spoke to this paper expressed disappointment over the current confusion between drivers of NTA and private commercial buses drivers, noting that they see nothing wrong with both groups operating at the same place in a free enterprise.
Jacqueline Colemon, a student of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University in Monrovia believes both drivers of the NTA and private buses should co-exist because they all have right to the parking station.
Last December, the Government of India donated over 40 buses to the Government of Liberia to ease public transport difficulty in Liberia, particularly Monrovia and parts adjacent. The buses, operating under the National Transit Authority, also ply to various counties, transporting citizens at reduced fares.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne