Drivers are charging highly
By Akol Arop Akol
The pandemic disease that threatened life and led to look down on public seems not a big deal again, not because it is over but people can’t sustain their lives without daily struggle, to get income for survival, some people were working daily (barcuot in Arabic) which is based on daily hustle. The hard working young women and youth who have tasks of feeding the family and providing other needs didn’t sit down, they usually take a risk by going out and do their business in public, they might have fear of contracting the COVID-19, but because they can’t live without food, they keep working and praying to God that nothing happens to them.
The Government in response to COVID-19, set preventive measures to protect people, these includes Public gathering. The public transport was also regulated that a Boada Boada (motorbike) had to carry on only one passenger and both should put on face masks. It was also passed that a transport bus must only take a minimum number of passengers and have distance between seats. The order was actually working until when there were no coronavirus cases reported on daily basis. This might made people think the disease is over, some have started breaking the rules or preventive measures given by concerned authorities and Healthy organizations.
So far I think I have not heard any news that South Sudan is finally free from Coronavirus and that people should do whatever was stopped. Greetings with handshake, hugging, or random body contact are happening between people. People are no longer wearing masks unless they are going to an office which is strict and only allows entrance to those with masks.
Let us leave about whether Coronavirus is there or not in South Sudan. My issue is about the transport (sitting and fares) and surely some of you might have seen passengers sitting many in buses with no distance. Take example a Noah type of car, takes 7 people (6 at back seats and one in front with driver) but during the lockdown, it was issued that it must take only 4 and 1 in front. The other buses are supposed to do the same. But it is not as authorized. There are some drivers who fill their buses full, (no distance) and still charge passengers with price-fares of two people i.e. fare was 50 SSP and for Noah was 100 SSP but during limitation it ranged from 100 and then 200 SSP for Noah. But now other drivers are allowing passengers to occupy all seats but still charge highly. When asked why, they keep saying the Petrol or diesel is expensive.
Are authorities concerned about this issue of the poor civilians bearing their situation in which they are exploited? I didn’t hear any news about rise of petrol, it is not that scarce though there is crisis. But why would drivers be so merciful and dishonest to their people?
We have to be honest with public, public transport is for those who don’t have their own private transports, therefore, the would use their pocket money to go from town to town and home to work as well as going home, but if fares are high they can’t afford to take a bus 4 times because it would consume 800 SSP, a big amount that some families are struggling for at least to buy a bread.