Stranded Passengers Challenge Transport Ministry
Marketers and others that travel between central Monrovia and other parts of the country daily are calling on Government to bring in more buses to help ease the transportation constraint.
Some stranded commuters who spoke to the Daily Observer recently on McDonald Street stressed that the limitation of commercial vehicles in the city is posing a serious problem for them.
Jenifer Peterson, a resident of Old Road said, “We find it difficult both in the morning and evening hours to get cars, and such [should] not always be the case. Government must try to reduce this stress by bringing in more buses that we can ride and pay as done in the case of NTA.”
As economic and social activities are centralized in Monrovia at the national level, so it is with activities in Monrovia.
Most social and economic activities are concentrated in central Monrovia. The majority of people from outside Monrovia come to the central to work and sell, which causes overcrowdedness during rush hours.
In the morning, those living outside Monrovia fight for transportation to central Monrovia, and this creates transportation constraint for them.
As drivers see the demand for transport, they add the already skyrocketing fare up to double the stipulated price, and commuters are compelled to pay as staying out late may be dangerous for them also.
Jenifer added, “We normally pay LRD$25 from Broad Street to Old Road. But now we pay a little over that. I think if there were enough cars in the streets, there would be competition and fares will drop,” she said.
Robert Dennis, student of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) and a resident of Duport Road Community said the Ministry of Transport should put in place mechanism to help solve the transportation crisis.
He recommended that the ministry brings in more vehicles in the country for commercial use since there are more passengers than vehicles.
“This is a serious issue. To get to school on time as students, we have to wake up as early as 5 a.m. every morning to fight for car. In the evening it becomes difficult for every one of us again, and we can’t boycott our classes. So we need the Government of Liberia to please respond to our concern,” he pleaded.
For his part Bobby Manneh, a businessman and a resident of the S.D. Cooper Road community, stressed that it is disheartening that over the years, the issue of transportation has continued to fall on deaf ears.
“I am sure this will not be the first time we speak about issues concerning our transport system or the challenges we face on a daily basis. Why has the government decided to remain quiet on the whole issue? We have spoken on this many times.”
Manneh also noted that in addition to the difficulty in getting car to bring them to town and take them back to their communities, self designed transport fares by drivers was causing problem for the common people.
He observed that the Ministry of Transport has not been strict in regulating fares in Monrovia, but drivers have been left to do as they please.
Also speaking to this paper, Titus Summerville attributed the difficulty associated with transport to traffic congestion that occurs in the morning and evening.
He said, “Leaving central Monrovia to ELWA Junction takes 30 minutes, but because traffic becomes heavy in the morning and evening, we stay up to 1 hour,” he said.
Matthew Sayweh, a commercial driver who runs between Broad Street and Old Road also pleaded with the Government of Liberia to import more vehicles to create competition in the transportation business.
“We need more people in the transportation field, so if the Ministry brings in more cars and puts system in place to board, it will help us the drivers.
Frankly speaking, cars limited in the street and it is a serious issue,” he pointed out.
He also noted that “The prices are increased because of the US rate. When the rate is high, we will have to increase fare because prizes of fuel and gasoline can rise.