Despite the improved conditions of roads across Nimba County and affordable price of petroleum products on the local market, the cost of transportation continues to rise, creating difficulty for commuters in that part of the country.
Presently, the cost of transportation from Ganta to Monrovia by taxi is L$1,000, while mini buses charge L$800 per person excluding whatever loads the person maybe carrying.
Transportation fares usually increase during the course of the Christmas and New Year seasons when passenger movement is high. However, the sudden hike in transport fares in April is raising concerns among Nimba citizens.
Josephine Diagor, a commuter, said, “When there is a shortage of petroleum products on the market, they carry transportation fares up. I don’t understand what is causing this recent hike in the cost of transportation.”
“What is the role of the Federation of Road Transport Unions of Liberia (FRTUL) when it comes to transportation fares?” asked one Emmanuel Johnny.
“If I cannot find an NGO’s car to ask for a ride, then I will sleep at the station and board the NTA bus, which is cheap,” he added.
Because of the high cost of transportation, travelers often prefer riding with the vehicles of NGOs, which cuts costs and also enables them to relax while traveling.
“Even with the L$1,000 we are paying for taxis to Monrovia from Ganta, the FRTUL still allows commercial drivers to take six people. Sometimes that number is higher when they carry passengers in the trunk,” said another commuter.
When the Daily Observer contacted the head of the FRTUL’s Nimba Branch, Jerry Luogon, he responded aggressively, saying, “The transportation is still the same.”
“You can go and inquire about the cost of spare auto parts in the garages. They are the only places you can find out about the reason behind the increment in transportation fares,” he explained.
Many citizens blamed the government for not taking the appropriate steps necessary to improve the transport sector; especially when it comes to the country’s road transport system.
“Anybody can call any amount for transport fares because there is no system in the country to govern those in charge of transportation,” said one of the passengers who were unable to board the NTA bus and couldn’t afford to travel by taxi.