River transport is an integral component in
the development of any economy. However, this sector in The Gambia remains one
key area that has been neglected or sidelined by the previous regime especially
vital crossing points in the central part of The Gambia. For instance, a small
country like The Gambia gifted with its long narrow navigable River Gambia,
could ordinarily be an ideal place for an efficient inland transport connecting
all parts of the country. This would no doubt serve in multifarious economic
advantages as many commuters like to voyage along the River Gambia.
For far too long commuters including students in that part of the country, who on daily basis crossed at the Bush Town-Bansang Ferry crossing point, encountered daily hardships crossing this narrow waterway. The old ferry connecting people and goods and services to either side of the river banks is now outdated. This has prompted commuters including students to voice out their concerns and dissatisfaction over the dilapidated condition of the over 30 year-old ferry.
We all know that river transport is one of the cheapest modes of transportation especially in this part of Africa. However, this potential could not be tapped as developing inland waterways as a means of passenger and cargo transportation has never been a part of the planning until recently. Passengers on daily basis have to engage sometimes more than an hour, pulling the hard cable that connects either side of the river banks. This daily routine has become a nightmare for many especially those who cross the waterway daily. The daily hardships is now even forcing many drivers to use the Janjangbureh end to cross to the northern bank of the region, which is consuming a lot of fuel thus a financial burden.
Meanwhile, for students, many are finding their daily classes affected as most of the time they report to school late due to transport difficulties. This crossing if developed could help contribute to the economic growth of the country in many ways, thereby creating job opportunities for a number of youths in the area. We therefore call on government to look into the plight of these and see how best they could come to their help.
“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”