15 February 2013

Gambia: Concerns Expressed On Transportation in the Gbas

Considering the fact that no business can grow effectively without proper transportation network to ease the movement of persons and goods from either point of work, this reporter takes this issue of public concern to move to the different junctions to hear views on the phenomenon.

At the Banjulinding garage, a group of students and business persons/vendors who were standing and waiting for transport for almost an hour were asked to express their difficulties or otherwise on the said issue.

Famata Jallow, a resident of Banjulinding said, she is a business woman but arrived late at the market due to transport difficulties. This, according to her, is due to lack of garage at their residence and also lack of public transportation system in the country. "I have a very big setback in terms of sales we made due to the late arrival at the market. Transport problem is a big problem but is worsen nowadays especially since the collapse of the Gambia Public Transport Corporation (GPTC)". She said the main problem is that commercial drivers plying to Brikama refused to pick passengers at Banjulinding or Lamin and if you insist to join them, they would ask you to pay first to Brikama, and later to Serrekunda which they are some times compelled to do to avoid late arrival at the market. She urged the authorities to either help them with a garage or revitalise the GPTC.

Modou Lamin Danso was also found at the same Banjulinding Junction and he spoke desperately; "I'm residing in Brikama but I depend on lift to go to Banjul each day", He said. He said he asked for lift from Brikama and that driver stopped at Banjulinding, so he had to drop and wait for another lift. "This is why you met me standing here otherwise by now i should have been in class", Lamin explained. He also said sometime he would join 3-4 cars before he arrives at the school in Banjul.

He further said he depends on departmental cars but they have other difficulties since the change of working hours came into effect. "So I am appealing to the government to help us with school buses otherwise we the students from poor backgrounds would be affected with so many distractions in our educational pursuits", Said Lamin Danso .

Meanwhile, a group of students were also found at Tabokoto main junction, a student Mariama Cham when approached said she would challenge the government to try and redouble its effort to facilitate the mobility of both students and the staff.

She said since their mission is to provide quality education for the country they need to endeavour to ensuring the provision of effective transportation network.; adding that otherwise the students and teachers would continue to arrive late at schools and that would always give a negative impact to the sector.

"So I therefore call on the authorities to be vigilant and solve this long standing problem to be able to better the education sector", Said this young school going girl child.

A staff at a public enterprise also explains similar sentiment but added that in order to solve this transport problem every department should try and have their own staff bus.

The education and health sectors, he said are the most important sectors of any country. She opined that steps need to be taken to ease their movement.

At West Field Cooperative junction Lamin Jadama also said he works in Banjul but finds it very difficult to have transport to and from Banjul. According to him, most of the drivers would pick passengers from the cross section of Serrekunda and Brikama and dump them at West field. He said most of the drivers said they are not going to Banjul due to poor road conditions in Banjul. He finally appeals to the National road authority and the Banjul city council and the Gambia government as a whole to solve this problem as it is affecting the whole economy.

Furthermore, Modou Lamin Conteh also expressed similar issues and added that: "I think the immediate solution to this problem is to have the public transportation system. I call on the government not to focus on the infrastructural aspects only but should look into the availability of transport as well", Noting that there cannot be meaningful economic activities without proper and reliable transportation system in the country; adding that late arrival at work or business leads to low production and sales and this would in turn lead to low earnings and savings.

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