By Nelson Manneh
The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure in a press release issued on Monday 16th January 2023 indicated that transport fares for all official routes across the country will be increased, effective 20th January 2023.
The transport fares increment according to the Government will be followed by the introduction of new tariffs, route licensing for various destinations across the country.
Route licensing is a scheme that allows vehicles to register and ply a particular route.
The main objective of introducing a route licensing scheme is to eliminate the charging of double or triple fares for various destinations.
The verbatim of the press release is as follows: “The Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure wishes to inform the public that following consultations among various stakeholders, an agreement has been reached to increase the transport fares for all official routes across the country, effective 20th January 2023.
In the same vein, an agreement has been reached to adopt a new tariff for the transportation of containers across the country. This gesture is in fulfillment of the agreement reached with the General Transport Union and the Port Transporters Association.
However, as a condition for the implementation of transport fare increment and the new tariffs, route licensing will be introduced for various destinations across the country. Route licensing is a scheme that allows vehicles to register and ply a particular route.
The main objective of introducing a route licensing scheme is to eliminate the charging of double or triple fares for various destinations. Already, the stickers and permits have been issued to vehicles plying various routes within the Greater Banjul Area.
It is expected that the scheme will be rolled out to all other routes within the country in due course.
In light of the foregoing, the Transport Union and heads of Car Parks are urged to ensure that drivers adhere to the principles guiding route licensing.
It is anticipated that as the government fulfills its promise in increasing tariffs, we expect the Union and its members to also fulfill their commitment as per the Communiqué signed in September 2022.
The Ministry would like to categorically state that doubling or tripling fares will no longer be tolerated in the road transport industry.
Failure to comply with the new route licensing scheme by the transporters will result in taking necessary actions. Transporters and all stakeholders are urged to comply with these processes,” it ends.
Mr Omar Ceesay the president of the Gambia Transport Union said his union is aware of the proposed increment of the transport fares for all official routes across the country effective 20th January 2023 as they were in the center of the process.
He said an agreement has been made between the Union, Government and other stakeholders in connection to the implementation of the route licensing scheme within the Greater Banjul Area and West Coast Region.
“In this regard, we are calling on all commercial drivers to register with the route licensing scheme and to adhere to the terms and regulations starting on 20th January 2023,” he said.