• February 6, 2024

‘Waka’ Fine is a ‘Criminal Enterprise’- Native Consortium

‘Waka’ Fine is a ‘Criminal Enterprise’- Native Consortium
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By Alusine Fullah

In a press release issued by the Native Consortium and Research Centre have denounced the newly introduced Waka Fine bus fare as a ‘criminal enterprise.’ The controversy arises from the mandatory Le10 fee imposed on passengers boarding the Waka Fine buses, sparking widespread public outrage.

According to the Consortium, the exorbitant fare sets a precedent that could compel other commercial vehicles to follow suit. The release criticizes the utilization of law enforcement to protect what it deems as an exploitative and anti-competitive venture, accusing the authorities of safeguarding a breach of government fare regulations.

“Native Consortium & Research Center condemns the extortion scheme with a 100% increased fare (NLe10 pole to pole) using the police for a criminal enterprise thereby preventing Keke and other Commercial buses (Poda Poda) not to ply some major streets, leaving passengers stranded with huge discomfort,” the release states.

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The Consortium further questions the Ministry of Transport and Aviation’s support for the venture, pointing out that government bus services globally are typically more affordable. It emphasizes the need for competition and criticizes the use of security forces to enforce what it perceives as an unjust fare system.

“A savvy businessman would have entered the market with a cheaper fare, and not to force people. President Bio, this is not what the people voted for,” the release asserts.

The statement also suggests alternative strategies, such as introducing a route and timing app, as a more consumer-friendly approach to market the Waka Fine buses.

The government should allow them to compete with their own fare and not to drive the Keke and Poda Poda from the major routes like Wilkinson road. Moreover Sierra Leonean are more tech savvy and no longer naive. The new Waka Fine buses can introduce an app on their route and time it, would have been a better marketing strategy than to force it down the throat of the people. That is hard to swallow,” the release concludes.

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