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Mixed Public Reaction to Taxi Fare Increment

Jul 9, 2008, 6:32 AM | Article By: By Baboucarr Senghore

The recent increase in the cost of taxi fares throughout the country has raised serious concerns amongst the general public as many expressed doubt as to the reasoning behind what they describe as an unjustifiable move.

For drivers, most especially taxi drivers, the move could not have come at a better time than now taking into consideration the recent increase in the pump prices of Super petrol, Gas oil and Kerosene.

"We cannot continue to live in such a situation because we are all family men and we will do all it takes to make ends meet for our families. No one would like to die in poverty. What the commuters should try to understand is that a rise in the price of fuel will also be followed by a rise in the price of fares in taxi's", said a taxi driver who spoke to The Point.

This however does not make any sense in the minds of some commuters who despite the rise in the prices of petroleum fuel maintain that taxi fares should not be increased at any cost.

"It is true that everybody has his or her own job to run but it important for drivers to note that people's earning capacities are different in this country. A family man earning D1200 cannot afford to be paying D30 or more just to get to Banjul every day", said a 39 year-old female civil servant.

The Gambia National Transport Control Association, the umbrella body for all drivers in the country, last Monday announced the new tariff increment in the prices of taxi fares nation wide.

"The rise in the prices of taxi fares should at least reflect an increment in the earning capacity of the general public more so civil servants most of whom join taxi's to get to their various offices every day", said one Omar Ceesay, a university student.

According to an old man who struggles to get to Banjul from Brikama every day, the situation has left him with no other option but to resign his position as a cleaner because, as he put it, his monthly earnings are less than the required amount to get him to Banjul every morning.

"I have been a cleaner for decades now but I can't save anything. All I earn at the end of the month is spent on paying fares from one spot to the other just to get to my work place. I am a family man and I believe the only solution for me at the moment is to resign my post", he said.

For one Mustapha Ceesay, a taxi driver, "the situation is a difficult one to say the least and the cost involved is simply beyond the means of most people especially students but drivers also have no other option. Definitely it is not our wish to increase taxi fares but the current situation calls for it", he said.

Also speaking to this paper, a student at Gambia Senior Secondary School said the recent rise in the prices of basic commodities and the latest rise in the prices of fuel which also resulted to the increase of taxi fares will no doubt rock the nation.

"Yes we now have school buses but it should be understood that not every student has access to school buses because of our different geographical locations. So the only option is to pay fares which will be very tough for us let alone our parents", he added.