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High Price of Gasoline Affecting Senegalese Motorists


High gasoline prices are affecting transportation habits around the world, including in Africa. In Senegal, as every month progresses, and salaries cover fewer and fewer daily expenses, private vehicles are becoming less and less visible on the streets of the capital, Dakar. VOA's Nico Colombant reports on how both commuters and transport drivers are being affected by soaring gasoline prices.

One of the passengers on this public bus is government economist Ibrahima Suwareh.

He says his salary is about $420 a month, and that he was paying about nine dollars a day until recently on gasoline to travel in his private car to the office and back home.

He says that was almost half his salary for gasoline and that that was just too much. But he does not like the change in commuting.

He says buses are filled to capacity and are very uncomfortable.

He says younger people like him have to get up and stand to make space for older commuters to sit down.

A liter of gasoline has cost about one dollar in Dakar for a long time, but in recent months the price has climbed to more than $1.60.

Taxi drivers, like Malick Sane, also complain.

He says the higher prices are punishment for taxi drivers. He rents his taxi for about $25 a day, so he needs to work extra time to cover the higher price of gasoline.

He says he now pays about $25 a day to cover the cost of gasoline. He says passengers also haggle more for cheaper fares. Taxis here do not have meters.

Sane says his take home money is about $10 a day now. He says with prices also going up for basic goods like rice, cooking oil, meat and vegetables, it is becoming harder and harder to feed his family, pay rent and send his children to school.

Another driver, Assan Faye, is making more money now. He drives a private car as a group taxi - something which is called a clando, short for clandestine.

These types of cars run main routes, filling up with as many passengers as possible, charging small fares of about 25 cents.

Clandos are the rare mode of transport for which prices have not gone up.

Faye says he has many more customers now, but that because of high gasoline prices he does not make that much more money than before. He says he is making about $16 a day, compared to $11 before, which is still more than a taxi driver makes, but he says, whichever way you look at it, everyone is struggling these days.

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