Transport Minister S.Tornolah Varpilah has warned commercial vehicles’ operators, including taxis and buses, against inflating the cost of transportation in the wake of the recent Liberia National Police (LNP) action banning motorcyclists from using all principal streets and routes in Monrovia.
He made the disclosure over the weekend in Monrovia during a press briefing.
Minister Varpilah said anyone caught in the act of inflating transportation costs will be arrested by the Liberian National Police (LNP) and taken to court.
“We should not use the restriction placed on motorcycles as an excuse for raising transportation prices; anyone caught in the act will be arrested by the LNP and charged by the Liberian Government. The fine paid by any driver that is caught in the act will go into the Government account,” he stressed.
The MOT boss promised to work with the Commerce Ministry and LNP in making sure that the rise in transportation fare stops at once.
“We have talked with the National Transit Authority (NTA) to increase the use of their buses and extend their trips to four or five times a day; this will help our people get to their various destinations.
Discussing the first day of restriction on motorcyclists, Minister Varpilah said “The first day of the restriction recorded no major accidents; this proves that motorcycles in the country contributed to the high rate of accidents.”
Giving statistics of the number of motorcycles accident per day, Minister Varpilah accounted that each day prior to the restriction, there were recorded reports of 41 accidents, leaving several wounded and many dead.
The Liberian Transport Minister said, the restriction of motorcycles on the main streets is not an issue of bringing embarrassment to the citizens in the country, but rather it is meant to save the lives of both the riders and citizens.
He used the medium to inform motorcycle operators that beginning November 10, the Ministry, along with the Liberian National Police, (LNP) will enforce measures that will guide the motorcyclists.
“No motorcycle will be allowed to ply the streets without view mirrors, they must be registered with the Government of Liberia license plate approved by the MOT, riders must wear helmets and reflective jackets and foot wear, not slippers; no motorcycle is allowed to carry more than two passengers including the rider at all times.
Anyone caught violating these traffic rules will be arrested and fined, causing their motorcycle to be impounded until said fine is paid into Government revenue before the motorcycle is released,” the MOT boss stressed.
The MOT boss described the measures taken by the Transport Ministry and the Liberian National Police (LNP) as great steps to ensuring public safety.
Min. Varpilah said the results of the investigations determining the causes of motorcycle accidents, came to the conclusion that they are most often due to excessive speed, driving while drunk, and unruly driving practices.
Min.Varpilah thanked the motorcyclists for conducting themselves in the right manner by resisting protest and not defying the law as many thought they would.
When asked about the deadline of the motorcycles restriction, Minister Varpilah said, “There is no deadline for the law until we have good roads.”