10 December 2012

Gambia: Drivers Complain of High Police Spot Fines

Commercial drivers plying the Brikama/Gunjur highway have renewed their complaint regarding the frequency of on the spot fines they continue to face from police.

According to these commercial drivers, the police have been increasing the frequency of fines on them as they tried to pick passengers outside the Brikama car park.

They said due to inadequacy of space in the car park for commercial vehicles plying the Brikama-Gunjur highway the van drivers decided to move out of the car park to another appropriate place to pick passengers bound for Gunjur. They said previously the police used to ask them to pay on the spot fines of between D1500 and D2000 but these drivers say the police now impose fines amounting to D3000.00 and also seize their vehicles until they pay. They added that most of them are youths and have decided to invest their small savings to engage in the transport business to contribute their quota to national development, but are beginning to get discouraged.

Reacting to the complaints made by these commercial drivers, the chef de garage at the Brikama/ Gunjur car park Sulayman Saidy dismissed the allegation. The car park he said is spacious enough to accommodate all commercial vehicles presently plying from Brikama to Gunjur. He said an MOU was signed by them which all parties agreed to but they continue to violate the agreement. He alleged that these commercial drivers have decided to create their own car park outside the main car park just to discourage passengers from joining vehicles at the main car park. He said they have complained this over and over again to the police but nothing comes out of it. He said on the spot fines imposed by the police on these drivers will not solve the problem while suggesting another step to be taken. He said they have also lodged the complaint to the Gambia Transport Agriculture Food and Industrial Workers Union whom he said have written to the stakeholders of the car park and the traffic unit.

Also contacted by this reporter was the police public relation officer Cadet ASP David Kujabi who said the police have the mandate to impose on the spot fines on any driver who violates the traffic regulations as it was demanded by the people. He said normally the police have to check on the location where a vehicle stops to pick up a passenger and its proximity to the car park and see whether it is at a dangerous position. He suggested for this reporter to make a follow up on all the councils to find out what plans they have in allocating car parks and speak to the different drivers' unions in the country to find out what they are doing to prepare drivers to be more organised to limit the problems between drivers and the constraints commuters face daily.

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