Friday, March 24

Police warn, Transport Ministry put measures to tackle drivers’ sit-down strike

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The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure on Saturday announced measures to use amid the Transports Union’s decision to withhold services throughout the country pending demands for the increment of fares and more, while The Gambia Police Force (GPF) warned against breach of peace.

The General Transport Union recently pronounced a sit-down strike throughout the country effective 12 September 2022 (today), saying it’s influenced by the high price of fuel; the high price of toll fees at the Senegambia Bridge, too many police checkpoints and expensive mandatory fines on the roads.

Ministry of Transport in a statement said it is working with the Gambia Transport Service Company (GTSC) to fully deploy its fleet of buses across the Greater Banjul Areas starting Monday. The ministry added that the deployment strategy is in line with Government’s Transport Policy to ease the difficulties commuters currently face.

The ministry maintained that in as much as it wants to champion the cause of the transport sector and negotiate a fair deal with the transporters, it is not justifiable to increase transport fares in a situation of chaos and disorder where commuters are charged multiple fares for the same route.

“Over the last two years, the Ministry of Transport came up with various initiatives including a pilot ‘route licensing model’ as a strategy to eradicate multiple charging on the same route. While the Ministry is currently studying a number of options to support the transporters and ameliorate the challenges they are going through, several innovative solutions are also being proffered obliging all commercial vehicles to have clearly identifiable stickers with indicative destinations to stop multiple charges of commuters,” the ministry stated.

On the crossing fee at the Senegambia Bridge, the ministry said the government has not increased the tariff but rather maintained the same tariff since its inauguration in 2019.

The ministry continued that there will also be special bus services on standby to respond to the upsurge in demand, especially in congested areas within the Greater Banjul Area. Meanwhile, the provincial bus services will still run as normal.

The Gambia Police Force (GPF) through the office of AIG Operations instructs that any driver who chooses to go on the proposed sit-down should park their vehicle at a private location.

“All commercial drivers who wish to continue performing their functions should not be obstructed. GPF is committed to providing security to those that are not part of the sit-down strike. Anyone found breaching the peace and security or trying to stop commercial drivers from plying the road will be dealt with accordingly,” the police warned.