Transport Ministry should shed light as confusion continues over increment of fares

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Whosoever is responsible for the announcement of the increment of national transport fares should know that it came at a wrong time and unacceptable way of doing it.

On Monday, passengers and drivers continued to clash over the so-called increment of national transport fares – putting everybody wondering what could have been the better way to deal with the situation. Drivers are claiming that national transport fares have been increased, with many passengers on the other hand resisting to pay as claimed on the condition that no official announcement had been made over the increment.

Where is this increment coming from? Nobody could justice, leaving a vacuum for the Transport to clear the air by confirming whether what has been claimed by drivers and their apprentices is something that holds water. The fact of the matter is that it is the business of the Transport Ministry to increase or decrease national transport fares. And under normal circumstances, after the ministry does announce any new development as regards to transportation, a date is stipulated with rigorous sensitisation for the public to be highly informed.

In August, Minister Bai Lamin Jobe had announced reduction in national transport fares at a press conference, making it more formal and realistic. His announce and the steps taken have made it possible for both passengers and drivers to prepare mentally and there was no push-and-pull between passengers and drivers.

At the press conference, the minister said that transport prices in the territory land and sea routes were going to face a 15% price reduction for passenger transport fares, plus 12% in for national and 10 % in for regional cargo and goods charges respectively, effective Monday, 21th August 2017.

He made it clear that the decision to reduce transport tariffs on land and sea routes was reached after a thorough consultation with all the relevant government stakeholders, transport unions and associations in the country.

“I must say that the previous government has not put in any plan or initiative to reduce transport tariffs to reflect on the reduction in fuel pump price, despite the drop in price for fuel from D56.7 Butut to D42 per liter since 2013”, Minister Jobe said.

But this very recent one came as a surprise. Drivers and their apprentices just slept a night, woke up in the morning; and announced to passengers the new increment, making it a signal that the ministry seems not in control.

We urge the Transport Ministry to act so that the confusion and unnecessary clashes between the two parties be halted with immediate effect.

“If you provide good alternatives for public transport, you won’t have traffic problems.”

Jaime Lerner