The Trade minister last November made some fundamental remarks about the government not allowing any single entity or sector to hold The Gambia to ransom and thereby disrupt the smooth flow of business operations in the country.
Particular reference was made to the transport sector or transporters, as having tried to hold the country to ransom in terms of transportation which, according to the minister, would “not be tolerated”.
“We would encourage everybody, but anything that is done that does not encourage and facilitate smooth transportation for the interest of all of us would be curbed seriously,” the Trade minister had said.
This resolve and stern warning from the authorities is quite in place and essential, and to a large extent they have ensured transport operation is under control.
However, negative game play and attitudes, as regards commercial vehicles and how they operate, have started rearing their heads again.
We are actually referring to the fact that distances of some of the main routes across the Greater Banjul Area, for which agreed amount of fares have been officially spelt out or declared, are today shortened by commercial vehicle drivers, thereby creating a situation wherein passengers would have to pay twice the fare for a distance they would normally pay for once.
For instance, distances such as Westfield to Banjul, Westfield to Sabena Junction, and Westfield or Serrekunda Market to Tabokoto for which passengers have to pay D10 or D8.00 have now been shortened by almost half by commercial vehicle drivers, who deliberately refuse to ply the full length of these routes for D10 or D8.00 anymore.
Nowadays, passengers or travellers are forced to pay twice the official fare to cover these distances, because drivers have deliberately refused to ply the full length of the routes for D8 or D10.
Now it would cause everyone including the layman to pay D16.00 or walk half the distance to cover places like Westfield to Sabena Junction.
We are, therefore, bringing this to the attention of the Trade minister and, by extension, the authorities; as this scenario is tantamount to creating problems for the smooth flow of transport and business in the country.
Furthermore, it is also essential that the conditions of our roads are seriously looked into, and a conscious effort is made to ensure that serious rehabilitation work is done on them, to permit a smooth flow of vehicles around the country, especially roads such as the one linking Tabokoto-Wellingara and the Coastal Roads.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”