Drivers’ strike update in Banjul

By MUHAMMED S. BAH

 Deserted Banjul Garage

In the morning of Monday 21 August 2017, at around 7am, no commercial vehicle was seen plying the roads in Banjul. The only vehicles that were seen were the small taxis.

It was observed that a lot of people were standing along the road for so long waiting for commercial vehicles to go to the Kombos.

This continued until around 9am when few vehicles started plying the road.

At the garage during a visit by this reporter, so many people who crossed from the north bank could be seen waiting for vehicles to be transported to the kombos. The little vehicles available were not sufficient to carry the commuters.

One Nfamara Singhateh a van driver who plies the Banjul/Serrekunda route, said he was told by his colleagues when he reached the Banjul garage in Serrekunda that he shouldn’t move because the drivers are on strike.

“That was at 7am. Then I decided to comply, until at around 9:30-10 am when I saw some vehicles moving. I also decided to go,” said Singhateh.

                         Deserted Brikama Garage In Banjul

Concerning the reduction of fares, he said this is not a problem for him. He however said the only problem it will bring is giving back coins as change to travellers.

“Getting dalasi coins is very difficult and much time is wasted just to find change,” he lamented.

He further urged commuters to help them with coins before they board vehicles to avoid time wastage.

 

Similar remarks were made by Yaya Sarr, a commercial vehicle driver who also said the transport union should try and have a better understanding with the authorities to resolve the issue.

 

Alieu Ceesay, another taxi driver said for them, they are not part of the strike action, taken by some drivers.

“Fuel prices have gone down twice. So I don’t think a dalasi difference should bring a problem,” he said.

Bakary Conteh a regular traveller from Kuloro said he works at the Gambia Ports Authority and travels every day to Banjul, which he said is more than 30 kilometers; that this is not the way drivers should express their concerns.

In his opinion he said government is on the right track; that fuel price has gone down twice but fares have never been reduced since then; that drivers should have the understanding and let things be normal. One Omar Njie also said that the drivers’ strike came at a bad time.

“This is the time when people will be busy preparing for the feast of Tobaski and others will be traveling up country to enjoy the feast with their families,” he said.

Almost all those who spoke to this medium made the same remarks. And that is for drivers and the authorities to settle the matter. However, the majority blamed drivers and urged them to be reasonable with the citizenry.