14 July 2017

Liberia: 'Unbearable Conditions'

The continuous increase in transportation fares in the country has raised concern among citizens and other commuters. Speaking to cross section of commuters at the Red-Light Parking Lot on McDonald Street in Monrovia, several passengers expressed dissatisfaction over the continual increment in transportation fares by commercial drivers in the country.

According to them, the situation is a disservice to citizens and a complete suffering for the common people. Cecelia Williams, a rice dealer in Waterside Market told this paper that the arbitrary increment of transportation fare is causing serious decline in the life of business people.

She mentioned the L$50.00 paid on a daily basis from Red-Light to McDonald Street is seriously affecting business women in the country. Madam Williams alleged that commercial drivers are over charging the passengers for their selfish interest at the detriment of the ordinary people.

Thomas Daniel, a commercial bus driver who always plys the route explained that the increase in transportation fare is a result of increasing foreign exchange rate in the country.

He cited that the price of gasoline has increased from L$340.00 to L$350.00, resulting to commercial drivers increasing their transportation fares. "There is no price control in the country, that's what the president said; gasoline price is increasing every day, so we too increase the price of transportation," he said. Another driver, Alex Kollie blamed the Liberian government for the increase in the transportation fares across the country.

"The government which has statutory responsible to regulate prices has failed its citizens by not regulating the prices of goods and services in the country," he added. Kollie noted that prices of goods and services will continue to increase in the country once the government remains silent to the cry of those aggrieved.

For Emmanuel Myers, a transport union worker said the situation is complete embarrassment to the union. He said passengers are blaming the union for the increment in transportation cost.

"The union is not responsible for the increment in transportation cost, the commercial drivers have their own prices and the union can't do anything because of arbitrary increment in the price of commodities on the Liberian market" he added.

The citizens are using the occasion to call on the government to come to their aid in resolving this situation. Kollie stated there have been several attempts by the national union to control transportation fares, but to no avail.

"If the union doesn't accept the present transportation cost, the driver will not pay our union fees and this is the only thing we are surviving on, so we can't do otherwise; let government come in," he implored.

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