The transportation difficulties faced by thousands of commuters in Monrovia, Paynesville and their environs continue because commercial drivers have arbitrarily increased their fares.
Last Wednesday, hundreds of commuters were caught unawares when commercial drivers started hiking transport fares.
On Broad Street, central Monrovia, on Monday, there were serious arguments between commuters and drivers due to the hike in fares. The drivers contended that they were buying petroleum products at higher costs from service station owners, who told the Daily Observer in several interviews that the price of diesel and gasoline at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) has increased sharply.
A Sinkor service station owner, Blamuel Washington said that current diesel and gasoline prices are not encouraging to make a profit from being retailed.
“I hope our government can work out some kind of solution to the current price crisis,” Washington said.
At the nation’s largest food market – Red Light – yesterday, commuters were seen stranded with their goods because they couldn’t afford and were unprepared for the unexpected hikes in transport fare.
Commercial drivers are now charging L$150 from Red Light Market to central Monrovia. It was previously L$90.
Meanwhile, in a statement released on Sunday, the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) expressed concern about reports “being promulgated by some unscrupulous individuals that there is a shortage of petroleum products on the Liberian market.
“LPRC assures the general public not to panic as there is enough diesel and gasoline in the country to meet the domestic need,” the statement added.
The LPRC said the information being spread is untrue, and made it clear that there “is over 30,000 metric tons of mixed petroleum products” in its shore tanks capable of sufficiently and adequately serving the Liberian market for over two months.
The management said while it may not know the actual intent of “those spreading this falsehood,” its management team is working alongside the Ministry of Commerce & Industry to avert any attempts by filling stations or individuals to hoard petroleum products in order to create an artificial shortage and a hike in the prices.
The management said it is calling on the public to report any individual or gas station selling petroleum products above the approved pump price of US$3.25 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of L$400 for gasoline and US$3.31 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of L$410 for diesel or fuel oil.