Several commercial bus drivers plying Duala to Benson Street in Monrovia have accused officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) detachment at the Slipway Depot of undue harassment.
“Many of us have refused to take passengers across Johnson Street to Benson Street where we are not forced to bribe police officers,” said a driver who did not want to be named.
He told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday at the Duala Parking Station, “There are many passengers for Broad Street but we’re not going there.
“The reason is, as soon as we get to the intersection of Slipway and Water Street, police officers will stop us.
“They want Ld150 to Ld200 before they can let us go, and I think it is too much.”
He said he had on one occasion been detained by a police officer for several hours, forcing passengers to make the rest of their trip to their various destinations by foot.
The Daily Observer reporter observed that several buses arriving at the Duala parking station wanted passengers only for Waterside.
One driver, who also did not want to be named, said, “I cannot go to our Benson Street parking because I’m tired with police officers’ undue harassment.”
He said, “The officer will stop you; you go and park and he will ask for Ld150 to Ld200, when you have just started your first trip of the day.”
Tired with such nuisance, he said several of the drivers decided not to run across the Gabriel Tucker Bridge (Johnson Street Bridge), and commuters without choice would have to join vehicles going to Waterside.
“I will stop at the last bus stop, and get another vehicle that is crossing over to Johnson Street or I’ll walk,” said a young man who was commuting to downtown Monrovia.”
There were many commuters who were annoyed at the drivers’ action.
One lady said, “What can we do?”
And like the drivers, she added, “They can only do what is convenient to them and inconvenient to us.”
Many commuters choose to take the Waterside route and either climb uphill or take a tricycle to Broad Street and walk the rest of the way to Johnson Street.
When contacted, a police officer at the Slipway detachment denied the drivers’ allegation.
“I remember several buses were parked here last week, which was not because we wanted money from them,” an officer who did not give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said.
“Most of the vehicles are defective and many of the drivers don’t have driving licenses.”
However, the Daily Observer reporter who commuted from Duala took a bus that deposited him, along with several other passengers, at the traffic light before the Gabriel Tucker Bridge and had to take another bus to cross the bridge.