The National Authority for Roads and Bridges implemented the Ministry of Finance’s decision to increase interstate transit fees for public and private cars by 600%.
AlTaghyeer: Elfadil Ibrahim
According to the new circular, which AlTaghyeer managed to obtain a copy of, the increase will cost, for example, a commuter in a privately owned sedan traveling from Khartoum to Atbara 1450 Sudanese pounds, where it used to cost a mere 200.
For those driving buses from Khartoum to Port Sudan will now have to fork 3,900 pounds instead of the previous 300.
While the Omdurman-Marwa transit fees amounted to 2,100 pounds for sedans.
The price of crossing between Nyala Zalingei rose to 1,120 for private vehicles and 3,640 for tourist buses.
Similarly,from El Fasher to Nyala also rose to 1,120 for private and 3,500 for tourist buses.
The National Authority for Roads and Bridges did not issue any clarification or justification for the decision.
The Sudanese Chamber of Transport, which caters to “buses, lorries, and trucks” rejected the increased transit fees and demanded that its employees pay according to the old prices.
A statement issued by the Chamber that AlTaghyeer obtained a copy of indicated that the increases were made without any discussion with the transport authority.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Othman, a travel industry insider, described the increase as “little” compared to the real prices that should have been adjusted for inflation , especially considering the fees will be allocated for periodic maintenance, which costs huge amounts of money in hard currency.
Othman told AlTaghyeer that the old fees ranging between 100-200 were not even equal to the “the price of a cup of tea” and added that “a tourist bus traveling 900 km from Khartoum to Port Sudan was paying a crossing fee of 300 pounds, while the price of one ticket was 25 thousand pounds, therefore the toll fees paid for a full tourist bus do not cover a quarter of a single passenger ticket.”
Othman said that most of the roads need urgent, periodic and continuous maintenance, after the life span of many of them has come to an end, with many currently not exceeding “13” km in length. At the time, estimates indicated the need for more than “30,000” km of road for travel.
Othman also said that they were hoping the high cost of building roads after the 2019 uprisings would be afforded with the help of multiple donors and their “400 million dollars.”
“But the political circumstance prevented the implementation,” he said.
“Yes, the citizen suffers, but this increase has become necessary. Yes, it can increase the cost of transportation and negatively affect prices, but in the end, if maintenance is not done, the roads will end completely, and the bumpy roads will constitute more costs and a double bill for all traders and citizens.”