The National President of the Federation of Road Transport Union (FRTUL), Lawrence W. Queeglay, Sr. has announced a sharp reduction in transportation fares for the route between Red Light and Ganta, Nimba County.
In a telephone interview with Mr. Queeglay on March 22, 2016, he said the new fare from Monrovia to Ganta is now LD$800 by taxi and LD$500 by mini-bus. From Gbarnga to Ganta is LD$350 by taxi.
Mr. Queeglay said the change in fares reflect the the improvement of the road condition between Red Light and Ganta, which now reduces travel time as well as overall maintenance burden vehicles plying the route.
According to him, the Union sees that since the road is better through the effort of the government, “We are designing the fares by our own reasoning and relationship with the travelers; we cannot wait on government to say it before we do,” he said.
Prior to the announcement, Ganta City Mayor Benjamin Dookpah had expressed gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Government of Liberia and partners for the newly dedicated road and recommended to the Transport Ministry to reduce fares for passengers.
Mayor Dookpah in an interview on March 16 in Ganta told the Daily Observer that the national government and its partners have done well to change the once deplorable road to a paved and smooth one, but the trickle-down effect was yet to be felt by citizens.
He said prior to the pavement and during the Ebola crisis in 2014, vehicles took six to seven hours from Ganta to Monrovia, but with the new development, it takes three hours or less to reach Monrovia.
“The impact of the road should be felt by the common people and not just vehicles smoothly plying it. People used to pay LD$1,250 before the road was rebuilt; but now, the cost of transportation cannot remain the same. Most drivers are still charging the same amount on the road that we take three hours or less to reach Monrovia and this is unfair to the common people,” Mayor Dookpah said.
“Since the road is paved and the cost of maintenance for a car has reduced correspondingly, we should pay less money as cars now take less than four hours to reach Monrovia. It is our plea to the transport unions to reduce fares of transportation,” he added.
Meanwhile, the long buses operated by the National Transit Authority (NTA) charge LD$400 from Monrovia to Ganta while those owned by private individuals charge LD$600.
The Press and Public Affairs office of the Ministry of Transport did not respond to inquiries. In 2011, an official of that ministry told the Daily Observer that MOT can only regulate fares on roads that are paved.
In wake of the road development, two businessmen including Darlington Luogon of the First-Step Business Center and Philip Gayetaye of the Young Philips Electronic Business Ward thanked government for the road and said it has brought great relief in transporting goods from Monrovia.
The two businessmen said they no longer experience delays with transporting their goods to Ganta since the road was rebuilt. Gayetaye noted that the road has opened Ganta to the point that customers are pulling in for business.
The Red Light to Ganta road project is not yet complete as the Chinese company, CICO, still continues works between Kakata and Gbarnga.
A taxi cab can now travel from Ganta main gate to Gbarnga in 35 minutes and a trip from Gbarnga to Monrovia can now take 2hrs and 25minues.