By: Yankuba Manneh, GPA Media and Communications Officer in Dakar, Senegal
The task force on implementing the new tariff of Gambia Ferry Services Company Limited (GFS) has traveled to Dakar, Senegal, on Sunday, 15th January 2023, for a four-day engagement with the Senegalese transport unions’ authorities.
The six-member delegation led by Director of Commercial Services, Mrs. Rohey Njie-Deen, comprises Mr. Ansumana Sonko, Banjul Terminal Manager; Mr. Jonkunda Suso, Barra terminal Manager; Gibril Jobe, Cash Office Manager; Ms. Nuhat Jaw, Senior Public Assistant; and Yankuba Manneh, GPA Media and Communications Officer.
The first engagement held on Monday was with Union des Routiers du Senegal (URS) authorities on the new tariff for implementation effective 1st February 2023.
Revealing the purpose of the visit, DCS Njie-Deen gave a detailed breakdown of categories of the new tariff, saying it affects passengers and all kinds of cargo, including saloon vehicles of all sorts except the trucks.
While justifying the rationale behind the increase in tariff, the GFS Commercial Director said the last tariff increase was in 2015 for passengers and 2018 for vehicles.
She highlighted the global hike in fuel, spare parts, and other vital equipment as factors necessitating the tariff increase.
“Maintaining and improving the suitability of the ferries for improved efficiency and productivity in all our crossing points has ever been our preoccupation as authorities of the Gambia Ferry Services. This is why we are slightly increasing our tariff to be able to dispense that quality services through a consultative means with our customers and major stakeholders,” DCS Njie-Deen explained.
She also introduced to authorities of the URS the new service being developed for implementation by 1st February, like the Premium Service, a charge one can pay for his vehicle to immediately cross with the next ferry without subjecting to the queuing protocol.
Speaking on behalf of the URS, Gora Khouma, the Secretary General of the union, thanked the delegation and the management of the GFS for considering them ahead of the new tariff implementation.
He said this shows the value and importance the GFS management has accorded to transport unions in Senegal as crucial customers and indicates the goodwill between the people of The Gambia and Senegal.
Mr. Khouma also lauded the initiative of tariff increase, saying it is prudent for the GFS to increase the tariff amid a surge in the price of goods globally.
He argued that the GFS could not only deliver quality services if the tariff remained the same, while everything in the world, including fuel and spare parts, goes up almost quarterly.
Mr. Khouma added: “The tariff increment is genuine as the cost of things increases daily. Even at our end, we are planning to increase our transport tariffs. There should be a fair balance between the cost of operation and the service levies for business sustainability. Meanwhile, rest assured that we will engage our union members about the new tariff for our collective support and cooperation in this endeavor.”
Mr. Abdourahmane Niang and Djim Ba, both executive members of URS, expressed similar sentiments. The duo extolled the GFS management for always considering their concerns anytime there is a tariff increment on the ferries.