Confusion erupted Monday, August 18, on Benson and Johnson Streets between passengers and commercial drivers over the new price regulations announced Monday by authorities of the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and Transport, and the Liberia National Police (LNP).
The new regulations cover fares from Central Monrovia to other parts of the city, including major destinations such as Old Road, ELWA Junction, Red Light, Dual and Bardnesville.
Passengers who spoke to our Business Desk indicated that drivers are still charging them the old fares, despite government’s adjustments in transport fares.
Musu Konneh, 30, who was on a bus marked TB-1557, said drivers were still charging commuters L$30 instead of L$25 to go to Point Four. L$25 is the new fare for that distance as announced by the Transport Ministry.
“Even this very bus we are seated on violated the regulation; because other people have money, so they started paying. We who don’t have it may end up getting out,” she said with frustration.
According to Ms. Konneh, drivers were saying that they will not abide by the new regulations as the prices of everything, including petroleum products and rice, have become very expensive. She further stated that the drivers were saying they are commercializing their cars for profit and not for government.
Ms. Konneh pleaded with authorities to enforce the new price regulations to the letter.
Drivers are attributing the increase in transportation fare to petroleum being expensive and the deadly Ebola virus, which has also forced them to stop taking four passengers at the back of taxi cabs and buses. They are now required to take only three passengers in the back seat.
Reacting to Ms. Konneh’s allegation, however, the driver of the bus, who refused to call his name, said the authorities should have firstly studied the market before coming up with the new regulations.
“We have been prevented from taking four passengers in a taxi and bus, and the government has come out with this price listing. What will become of us? We need to buy gasoline and feed our families, too, at home.”
The driver suggested that the government needs to go back to it drawing board and reduce the prices of petroleum and all other basic commodities used daily by the ordinary Liberian.