Jul 21, 2009, 9:02 AM
Getting around town has been difficult for some time now, and it is bound to be much more difficult as the feast of Christmas and the New Year approaches.
Those who commute to
Whether it is at Serekunda, or at the Cooperative Bus stop, or the Bakau end, getting to
It is more nightmarish at both Serekunda and the Cooperative Bus stop. There is usually a milling mass of people, who jostle one another just to board a bus.
People have to wait for hours on end to board a bus. In the resultant scramble, pickpocketing is given a field day.
Meanwhile, most drivers have no qualms about exploiting the situation.
Sometimes, people who commute from Brikama to
Buses leaving directly from Brikama for
He or she waits in vain for a bus going to
That is, if the person is lucky. Sometimes, between Westfield Junction and
Apart from the exorbitant fares, it is time consuming and physically exhausting.
How did things get to this pretty pass? Some blame it on scarcity of buses, while others blame it on the rural-urban drift that has swelled the population of the Greater Banjul Area.
Whatever the cause, we fear that things are really going to be rough at this time of the year, as most people will be going in and out preparing for the numerous parties lined up for the Christmas and the New Year.
Already, drivers are warming up for a kill; and touts are also waiting anxiously to make a pile out of poor commuters.
With the touts, they take up a seat in a bus to give the impression that it is already occupied. Once they see passengers jostling one another for seats, they throw in their gambit. If the fare is, say, twenty dalasis, they add about ten dalasis on top.
If the demand is high, they might even raise it a bit further. If you pay, you have a seat, but if you don’t, you have to wait in the sun for a day or so before you could be lucky to get to your destination.
For most passengers, who are eager to join families and friends or preparing for the Christmas and New Year in advance, no expense is spared.
This is a serious problem that should not be brushed aside.
There are special institutions whose responsibility it is to ease the transportation difficulties in this country.
Whether this is being done or not, we think the authorities should do more to address such a problem.
“The fear of one evil often leads us into a greater one.”