#Article (Archive)

GPA, the ferries and the people

Mar 27, 2013, 10:16 AM

It was not long ago when we expressed, in these pages, our gratitude on the work done in the building of new rams, at both the Banjul and Barra ferry terminals, for the ferries that were purchased and commissioned since 2011.

While this was a welcome and timely development, we would no doubt express our dissatisfaction again regarding the condition of the ferries currently plying between Banjul and Barra.

We have over the years stated in these pages that an efficient transportation network is indispensable to the realisation of the government’s Vision 2020 objectives, but only if urgent actions are taken to put right both major and minor loopholes in the operations of the ferry services in this country, within a reasonably short time.

Recent happenings in our ferries, especially while they are moving between Banjul and Barra and the use of small canoes by many people, have pointed out again the need to make our ferry services much safer, in the interest of humanity.

Taking a stroll at the ferry terminal in Banjul or Barra, now that concerns are being raised about the state of the ferries plying the river, one cannot help but see how people scramble to get onboard some of these small canoes, which to us do not have enough safety measures in case of any emergency.

Though the ferries bring in a lot of revenue, on a daily basis, the GPA should and must be seen to take immediate steps to put aside any ferry that is no longer safe for use by the travelling public.

Indeed, many are sceptical about the safety of the ferries, and complaints are frequently heard about the present condition of the ferries in causing delay at both terminals, particularly for vehicles.

However, this is not the time for belabouring the point about who is to blame for this current predicament; rather it is time for action.

The management of the GPA should put every safety measure in place in our ferries, to give the passengers crossing a reasonable degree of assurance that the ferries they board are perfectly safe. This is the feeling all around, at the moment.

Availability of a proper transportation network, especially ferry crossing, has now become a major concern in all corners of our society.

The GPA should and must be seen to take immediate steps to put aside any ferry that is no longer safe for use by the travelling public, and nothing should be taken for granted.

The overriding consideration should be the safety of the people!

As an immediate measure, to giving the travelling public more confidence in the services at the ferry terminals, ferries that are no longer in a good condition should be removed from operation without further delay.

Indeed, any ferry that needs maintenance should be given the immediate attention it deserves.

Also, extra inspection should be conducted on ferries routinely, shortly before their departure.

Captains should be extra vigilant about the state of their ferries; they should not at any point in time ignore any abnormality in their ferries.

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
Eldridge Cleaver