In the wake of the high prices of petroleum products in Liberia, the government has released a new transportation fare structure for Monrovia and its environs.
Currently, gas is sold at LD$540 while diesel (fuel) is LD$550 in Monrovia and its environs.
Deputy Transport Minister for Land and Rail, J. Darious Kollie, at a news conference over the weekend in Monrovia, said there has been serious public outcry against transportation fares, and he was delighted to announce the new fare structure.
“It is because of the government’s sensitivity to the plight of the people and in line with our statutory mandate that technicians of the both ministries have been holding series of meetings aimed at arriving at an acceptable fare structure initially for Monrovia and its environs,” Minister Kollie said.
Minister Kollie said efforts were underway to holistically address the transportation fares nationwide, including further reduction, if need be.
He said taxi drivers who violate the new fare structure will be fined US$100 for the first time, while bus drivers will be fined US$100, stating: “Taxi drivers that violate for the second time will be fined US$200 and bus drivers US$400.
“The Liberia National Police has received a copy of the fare structure and we count on them to enforce it. We also hope that drivers will cooperate with this new fare regulation,” Minister Kollie said.
“We are not only looking at the prices of petroleum products on the market, but also what is paid for spare parts, including tires,” Minister Kollie said.
According to him, authorities of Transport and Commerce also met with the transport union, which is in support of the government’s decision before making a final decision.
He said Broad Street to ELWA junction is now LD$60, Broad Street to Red-Light is LD$80, Broad Street to New Georgia junction is LD$40, Broad Street to Barnesville junction LD$60.
The reduction in transport fares has, however, brought serious discontent to commercial drivers, with some calling on the government to reduce the prices of petroleum products on the Liberian market.
“The reduction in transport fares is in the interest of passengers, and not the drivers, because of the prices of petroleum products. We cannot buy gas for LD$540 and take LD$40 from a passenger from Broad Street to New Georgia junction,” Jeremy Sheriff, who is a commercial driver, said.
Mr. Sheriff however welcomed government’s decision but has called for a serious reduction in petroleum products, which will afford drivers the opportunity to earn something.
Meanwhile, taxi drivers over the weekend insisted on charging passengers heavily, before Monday, when the Government-regulated fares would take effect.