By Fatoumatta K. Jallow
Many drivers at the Brusubi Turntable and Bakoteh Tipper Garages refuse to work showing their displeasure to the reduction of the prices of the fares by the authorities.
Drivers explained that they were not considered during the process of the reduction of the price of the fares and that the fuel price needs to remain the same. They added that they earn their source of livelihood and that of their respective families from the traffic and the reduction of the price will greatly affect them.
Abdoulie Jallow, the chief of the Brikama Garage at the turntable said the decrease in the fares from Brikama to Turntable is not favourable to him and the drivers. The fare was previously D17 and the new issued price by the authorities is D14.
“At least the authorities should leave it at fifteen dalasis” he said.
He concluded by saying if the price of fuel is reduced then it can commensurate with the current issued price of the authorities but if not it will greatly affect their income.
Muhamed John, a taxi driver said the price of fuel is D42 and if the price issued is to be D7 then they will not be able to save anything. He added that taxis are tasked to return 500 dalasis everyday adding that with the new price to have even D400 will be a problem.
One Alagie said the reduction in fares was done discriminately. He supported his argument by saying the GTSC buses fares are not included and that they are all commercial vehicles. He said the authorities should not have discriminated them. He added that many drivers will lose their jobs since many vehicle owners are not willing to reduce their daily tariff.
“With this new price and the stagnant high fuel cost no one can fulfil their daily returns” he said.
Kemo Saho one of the drivers said the situation is stressful and this is not the situation they expected from the new Gambia. He added that the drivers have also contributed tirelessly to the changes because they wanted freedom and liberty. “We have been suffering from the former regime and yet we are prone to such again in the new Gambia,” he lamented. He said the government should have worked in order to improve their welfare not to increase their suffocations. He cited many problems that they encounter such as traffic congestion.
Hundreds of passengers were seen at the garages whilst many were seen plying on the highways under the sun. They all called on the authorities and drivers to have a meeting in the shortest possible time in order to resolve the unfortunate situation. Speaking to many of them, they all said the strike of the drivers has greatly impeded their transactions whilst many of the work force were seen waiting and plying whilst most of them were late from job.
They further said that “The drivers do not complain when the fuel prices were reduced, why are they complaining now?” asked many passengers.
They added that the drivers should not go on strike because they should be here for the populace.