Dozens of people were stranded yesterday at Customs Park due to scarcity of public taxis to transport them to various destinations.

The Chairman of the Driver’s Union, Isaac Osfaldo said the major problems limiting the number of taxis is the shortage of fuel and the hiking prices of the spare parts in the market.

He said the drivers’ union is making arrangements for the taxi drivers to receive fuel from three (3) Gas Stations (in Juba town, Jebel Market and at Gudele) to ease the access to fuel and also because the 40 litres Nilepet is giving taxi drivers for a period of two weeks is not enough.

“The 40 litres is not enough because it lasts only for two days. This will not work well because the drivers can easily increase the transport fares to recover the money they use to buy the tickets from Nilpet,” Osfaldo said.

“I see Nile pet brought a form where a driver is supposed to pay 1,000 SSP in order to get fuel.  We were not informed about this decision. All the public vehicles operating within Jubek state are under our control, if there is plan they are supposed to tell us because we have experience concerning the affairs of the taxi drivers. We are the ones who know”, Osfaldo told Juba Monitor yesterday in an exclusive interview.

He urged Nilepet to consult the drivers’ Union in matters concerning provision of fuel for the public vehicles.

Osfaldo also emphasised that the government should look into the issues of public transport seriously because apart from fuel, spare parts have become too expensive in the market

“Government should prioritize the problem of fuel in the country because students cannot go and come back from school early. The disabled too, should be looked after”.

Winnie Charles, one of the passengers who were stranded at custom said the scarcity of taxis made her to miss important appointment with a doctor who was supposed to examine her.

“I was supposed to meet my doctor earlier today for my regular checkups but it is too late. The government should provide enough and affordable fuel to the taxi drivers so that taxis should be available to the citizens”, Winnie told Juba Monitor.

Meanwhile, Charity Kani, a student from Nile Model Secondary School said lately she has been going to school late due to the scarcity of taxis in the customs park. “These days we get to school late and sometimes one wants to get home early but we cannot because there are no taxis”.

Kani said sometimes she gets to school when her colleagues have already finished certain subjects and she had to copy notes. She said the teachers also blame them for coming late to school saying they wake up late that is why they also come to school late. She also said her parents do understand that, they normally do not quarrel with her whenever she gets home late.

By David Mono