By: Nyima Sillah
Both commercial drivers and commuters across the Greater Banjul Area have on Thursday expressed their concern with dissatisfactions over the high fuel price increment as it has hindered their daily movements, particularly in preparation for the Eid-al-Adha (Tobaski) celebrations.
Eid-al-Adha commonly known as Tobaski, is usually one of the biggest feasts celebrated by Muslims worldwide, and in the Gambia, many people travel to the urban areas to perform the Eid with their families. However, the recent increment on fuel prices has hindered the movement of people due to lack of enough transportation.
Speaking to the Voice, Malang Sambou, a commercial driver has complained that things have been tough with them since the fuel price increment hit the transport industry.
“The demand for transportation is high, but the losses are higher than the profit due to the price of fuel. Imagine buying fuel for D73.77 and collect D10 transport fare from the customer on board the vehicle, how do you expect to make profit at the end of the day? He argued.
However, Sambou added “It is disheartening seeing people struggling for cars, but it are not our fault. As for me, I prefer driving for town trip than the D10 tariff, but not everyone can afford to pay it, because the price is not favorable to all.”
Awa Beyai, a commuter also complained that she has been paying D25 from Serrekunda to Latrikunda for some days out of no choice. “All I care is just to reach to my destination, but some people can’t afford that, so they prefer to trek and get to their destination rather than paying D25. I pity those going to Brikama, because if you don’t pull out D100 in the evening, you will not reach to your destination which is very sad,” she stressed.
She further recalled that few days ago, the President of the Gambia Transport Union, Omar Ceesay, has said that the government has failed the agreement they had with them with the issues of fuel price and that no one can manage the situation, meaning the situation is even beyond the Gambia Transport Union.
“All I see is sufferings, because I am not seeing any sign that shows the solution of fuel price in the Gambia, and I am afraid that the price for transport fare might increase again,” she said.
Another Driver, Ousman Bah, added that “customer satisfaction is our priority, but this situation is beyond our control. I am driving and maintaining the same price, but if things should continue, I will increase the fare for myself, because I cannot be in the traffic wasting fuel without making profit,” he added.
He revealed that those commuters that are supposed to travel up to Jarra Soma, Nuimi, and Foni, among others, they are likely to suffer the most, because some drivers have already increased the fare.