FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

Liberia: Mini-Cars Replacing Banned Bikes From Monrovia's Streets but Transport Woes Linger

Monrovia — Henry Flomo's frustration sums up the ongoing dilemma facing commuters in Monrovia, weeks after a ban was placed on transport motorcycles plying the main city streets. "Look at me, I have been standing under this hot sun since 2:00 p.m. and now it is 4:30 p.m. and I have not found a taxi yet to carry me Sinkor, unlike the time when bikes were running."

Flomo says the government's failure to find alternative means of transportation is having a adverse effect on commuters. "Car business is not easy since the government stopped the pehn pehn or motorbike riders from riding in the city; we are forced to ride anything that can get us home"

On a recent weekday, Flomo and many other passengers like him were struggling to enter a three tire vehicle called Baja, which is making a strong case as the alternative replacement to Pehn-Pehn.

The minicabs which come in many colors and looks like wagon takes up to three passengers in the back at a time while the driver sit with another passenger at the front. And for the red minicab, four passengers sit at the back, while only the driver sits at the front.

"Cabman please tell this man to get up from my seat, because I was the first and he pushed me and took my seat because he feels that he has body, so he is taking advantage of me," Says a student who was pushed by a heavy body man while fighting to get onboard the minicab.

Broad Street, one of the busiest streets in central Monrovia, is where passengers gather every evening to find commercial vehicles to go home. But unfortunately, for passengers around Monrovia and its suburb, the government put a ban on motor cycle riders few weeks ago due to reckless driving in the city that resulted into many accidents.

As the Christmas season is fast approaches, Monrovia has gotten over crowded with buyers from the rural areas. These people have come to shop and buy goods to sell for the season, which is heightening the problems of finding vehicles.

"When Christmas is coming, the spirit and ghost can also come outside to shopping for their children, because I do not know where all these people are coming from that has made car business hard like this," Says Dorothy Myers, another passenger.

Both sides of downtown Monrovia streets are crowded with business people, students and petit sellers, especially midday - and stays that way until nightfall.

The streets are also crowded with thieves, robbers and phone snatchers who are moving among the passengers and stealing at the same time.

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