The Government of Liberia recently announced a general reduction of fares in the transport sector.
The decision by the government is in consonance with the price reduction in the petroleum sector in the country and world-wide.
Previous actions by the government were somewhat difficult to succeed, especially within the commercial transport sector as commercial drivers exhibited the highest degree of defiance, charging commuters/passengers far more than the stipulated officially announced transportation fares.
One major reason may have, probably, been the inability of the Ministry of Transport- the government regulatory arm, to ensure the necessary mechanisms of compliance by commercial drivers.
Perhaps being cognizant of the foregoing and as a result of the public continuous outcry against the commercial drivers, the government, through its Transport Ministry, chose to put in place all of the monitoring mechanisms to guide the exercise. Through the Ministry of Information, fares to and from parts of Monrovia and the country were early this week, re-emphasized with stringent measures, including telephones for commuters/passengers to report violators. Fines against such violators and revocation of their licenses were also pronounced by the government.
We, this time, such policy will work, and infect, it has already begun working, especially between the morning and early evening hours of the day.
And this is why, we even welcome such decision because of the exploitative and criminal nature of the commercial transport industry that has got commuters/passengers frustrating while in route to and from work.
Very interesting is the involvement of the Federation of Road Transport Union and Genuine Transport Union of Liberia that have made very un-noticeable impact on commercial travels by passengers across the country. We can only hope that the commitment assured by them regarding adherence to the government’s latest regulation will continue to be practical and effective within the industry.
Moreover, we appeal to the Government of Liberia to ensure that stipulated measures against commercial drivers disrespect and violating the regulation be made public when effected to serve as a deterrence to other would-be violators.
Additionally, the urgent need for the National Transport Authority or NTA to expand its current level of operations must be emphasized. This means, it must now begin to incorporate light vehicles such as taxi cabs and mini-buses with reduced fares to compete with other market forces in the commercial transport industry to determine the various transport fares, while the Transport Ministry remains relieved of the burden of always issuing fares.
Ahead of this, the current development initaed by the government is commendable to protect commuters/passengers from the numerous humiliation against them by commercial drivers.