21 April 2012

Gambia: GNTCA/GTU Counsel Drivers On Commuters' Complaints

Following the publication of Foroyaa newspaper late December 2011 that residents of Lamin, Banjulinding and the catchments areas complain that some drivers are deliberately refusing to pick passengers in these areas, for reasons best known to them; this reporter decided to find out from Gambia National Transport Control Association and the Gambia Transport Union if they could do anything to solve the problem.

Mr. Alieu Ngum, the National field Coordinator of Gambia National Transport Control Association spoke at length. According to him they have heard these complaints from the people of the said villages that the drivers are refusing to pick passengers at Lamin and Banjulinding villages but insist on picking passengers who are only bound for Brikama.

Mr. Ngum said they always address the issue through their radio programmes but some drivers are turning deaf ears to their enlightenment programmes. He stresses that the association will now start to take appropriate action against any driver who happens to overcharge a passenger or refuse to pick them only when they are directly bound for Brikama. There is nothing like 'Direct Flight'. He emphasised that the GNTCA are not out to secure the interest of the drivers alone but also the passengers. He said this is why they usually involve different stakeholders in the preparation of a fares tariff. He advised all to take the registration number of any vehicle guilty of the acts complained against and call the GNTCA on 9923833 to lodge a complaint for action. Submit the registration number and follow the case. He assured the commutants that law will take its cause.

Ngum also explains the situation of the residents of Farato, Busumbala, and Yundum saying when they are preparing the tariff they have what they called 'Zones',

He noted that Brikama, Farato and Busumbala are all in the 'Nyambai zone' meaning their fare is D15 to Serrekunda. He said Yundum to Serrekunda is D12.00 and from Banjulinding to Serrekunda up to old Jeshwang is 7 dalasi.

He informs that vehicles plying from Banjul usually ask passengers to pay extra fares particularly in the evenings, but warned that if anybody is reported for such an act

he/she would be dealt with according to law. He concluded by explaining that none of the drivers should charge more than the tariff except the taxis.

According to him the operations of the Taxis are based on negotiations with the passengers and are the only ones who work outside the limited tariff, he clarifies.

The views of the two presidents GNTCA

The President of the Gambia transport Control Association Mr. Alagi Mumini Sey also responding to the complaints of the commuters regarding the attitude of the commercial drivers plying from Serrekunda to Brikama that they would not pick passengers to Lamin and Banjulunding but only those going direct to Brikama, said these concerns of the passengers are being looked at by the GNTCA. He said the passengers have right to enter into any passenger vehicle passing through their residence.

He also emphasised that the main problem is lack of central car parks in Serrekunda where the vehicles can stand and load the passengers. According to him it would be very difficult to control the drivers if there is no central car park where they should load and off load. He added that plans are on the way to find a central garage and if this happens, this conflict will be solved. He indicated that they have that common understanding with drivers to stop at Tabokoto and West field but there is no garage there. He cautioned that passengers should not pay double fares.

Views of the President of the Gambia Transport Union

The President of Gambia Transport Union Mr. Abdoulie Tourary said the Transport Union and the National Transport Control Association are always in consensus with regards to any rules of the traffic. According to him the stake holders are in consultation to solve this problem. He said despite the fact that they have car attendants in every garage this problems would not be solved without central car parks.

He was asked who is responsible for the garage. He said it is the Ministry of trade in collaboration with the municipality, or regional area councils but he assured the public that all these problems would be handled in due course.

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