By Nelson Manneh
Drivers on strike in Brikama have called on the Government of The Gambia to reduce the price of fuel or increase transportation fares.
The drivers on Monday and Tuesday held industrial actions demanding either for the reduction of the price of fuel or the increment of transport fares.
President Adama Barrow has during his State of Emergency proclamation on Friday, 26th March 2020 proclaimed that all commercial public transport drivers should limit the number of passengers to not more than half of the capacity of their vehicles.
Lamin Colley, a van driver at the Brikama Car-Park said it is not fair for the government to reduce the number of passengers they carry on their vehicles and refused to reduce the price of fuel.
“It is not rational for the number of passengers we carry to be reduced halfway and the price of fuel remains the same,” he said.
Mr. Colley said he will not work until the government meets one of their demands.
Kajalie Jarju, a driver said he only carries passengers from Brikama and stops at Busumbala.
“This is the only thing I can do otherwise I will waste fuel. The only way the government can make this work is for them to reduce the price of fuel,” he said.
Babucarr Faye, a passenger who lives in Churchill Town said when he was going to Brikama, he paid fares four times because he was not able to get a vehicle direct to Brikama.
“I pay D10 from Churchill’s Town to Latrikunda, D10 from Litrikunda to Tabakoto, D10 from Tabakoto to Lamin, D10 from Lamin to Busumbala, and finally, I pay another D10 from Busumbala to Brikama,” he said.
Faye said the only way the government can assist them is to provide buses that will carry them from one destination to another, adding that it will ease the movement of persons and goods as well as generate revenue for the country.
Maimuna Sanneh, a vendor who goes to villages to buy vegetables and resells them at the Brikama market, said she was sitting at the Brikama Car-Park since in the morning without a vehicle.
“All the drivers are complaining that they are running at a loss. They said they cannot cope with the situation,” she said.
She said if the situation continues like this, she will stop going to the villages to buy vegetables.
“I am a widow and I live from the revenue I get from this business. If the condition continues like this, hunger will kill my family,” she noted.