This is because some carriers are licenced to carry maximum passengers and if no alternative measures were put in place, it could further increase the coronavirus cases in the country. Once passengers are gathered in vehicles, which lack good ventilation spaces, officials feared local transmission may be inevitable.
To that end, an agreement was reached between the transport union and stakeholders in the country’s transport sector. One of those agreements was to reduce to almost half the number of passengers each carrier was licenced to carry.
However, drivers also complained of lack of coins that was supposed to be refund to passengers. At that time many passengers understood the circumstances and would not even care asking for the return of D2 coins.
For instance those going to Brikama now pay D20 instead of the officially stipulated fare of D18, putting the pandemic into consideration and out of humanitarian gesture and sympathy to drivers. This is because we saw ourselves in an unprecedented situation.
This was also because we are all in this thing together. The plight of drivers was put into consideration, amid having to reduce to their passengers to half the capacity each vehicle was to carry.
Similar approach was also adopted by taxi drivers plying around town in the Kombos. But now that they’re fewer cases of coronavirus and almost all restrictions have been relaxed, and the fact that vehicles are now back to carrying their normal passengers numbers they are licenced to carry, fares must come back to normal and this includes taxi fares.
But this is where the problem is. Taxi drivers should understand that there is no official pronouncement regarding the increase in taxi fares from D8 to D10. Let this be clear to all.
Secondly, passengers considered their plight as they were asked to reduce the number of passengers to three. But now that they are carrying the same number they’re licenced to carry, they have no cause to ask passengers to pay D10.
Confrontation involving taxi drivers and passengers are common these days. Police should therefore step-up their efforts and be vigilant to make sure there is sanity in the process.
In as much as the pandemic takes a downward curve or flattens in the country, we are all affected in one way or other.
Let’s still exercise patience and understand each other. Taxi drivers and passengers are like a mobile handset and sim card. They need each other.
Insisting that passengers must pay a taxi fare of D10 is not a pronouncement in The Gambia, and therefore we urge the government and transport Union to as act as soon as possible to arrest this ugly situation as driver-passenger confrontation is becoming too frequent nowadays.
"When you are silent on the truth, you have given a transport fare fo the lie to travel and spread fast."