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What's the Fairest Fare System?

Jul 8, 2008, 6:16 AM

There are few who could argue that yesterday's increase in the cost of taxi fares was unfair. Drivers are facing extremely high costs and if they are to make ends meet and feed their families then the increase is essential. The difficulty that immediately strikes one however is that of change. With the number of prices jumping from five to six Dalasis, drivers will need to start carrying an awful lot more change. Small coins will now be essential for drivers and a lack of them may lead to delays and traffic congestion. If one person on a six Dalasi run pays ten Dalasi then the driver will have had to have four previous customers who paid exactly six to have sufficient coins to give the original customer their four Dalasi change. It will, in reality, be quite difficult for drivers to ensure that they have sufficient coins to maintain a steady flow of correct change. Many will say that, in the instance of many runs, small change had already been needed by drivers to maintain their change giving potential but the number of fares which have increased to an amount that will require coins to be given as change has increased significantly.

According to Sheriff Dibba, Secretary General of the Transport Control, "Banjul-Brikama, which was D15, has now been increased to D17," Mr Dibba said, adding that Serrekunda-Bakau, which was D5, has now been increased to D6.

In the same vein Serrekunda-Lamin, all the way towards Banjulinding, which used to be D5 per passenger, is now increased to D6, he said.

The National Transport Control Association went further to explain that the new tariffs from Serrekunda to Brikama, which was D10, has now been adjusted to D12. Serrekunda-Gunjur, which was D15, is now D18. Serrekunda-Tujereng, hitherto D10, has now been increased to D12.

With all of these fare increases the need to carry coins for change may even end up putting pressure on the National Mint. Do we have enough coins in circulation to service this reality?

As always, time will tell but perhaps it may be time to consider another option. Could there be a type of ticketing system put in place whereby a regular traveller could purchase a book of tickets from a number of different outlets. On their journey they could then present one of these tickets to the driver who in turn could take them to a cash office and cash them in. This kind of system might be quite effective if it operated alongside a straight cash payment option which would leave drivers with enough cash to purchase fuel. An option could also be agreed with a number of fuel filling stations to accept the vouchers in lieu of cash payment for fuel. Of course no system is foolproof but perhaps something along these lines might be considered to alleviate difficulty for both drivers and passengers in constantly having to ensure that they possess enough coins to cover their fares.

"Having a little inflation is like being a little pregnant." 

Leon Henderson