Feb 15, 2011, 1:31 PM
The need for the country to have a more effective and efficient public transport system is crucial. In a developing country like ours, where not every family or person have a car, this makes it even more useful for us to put in place an effective, reliable and efficient public transport system.
Our public transport system must be more productive and attractive, especially if it is to meet society's expectations.
We encourage the Ministry of Works, Construction and Infrastructure to join force with the National Roads Authority to come up with a "Transport Month" initiative that would focus the attention of the public on different transport initiatives, to enhance road safety and contribute towards economic growth and development.
In our view, at the moment, one of the areas that requires direct attention from the government and the Ministry of Works, Construction and Infrastructure, is the need for an effective public transport system.
We need a vibrant public transport system that provides certain minimum levels of service in the urban and rural areas, thereby enabling all Gambians to enjoy greater mobility.
The transformation of the public transport system requires consistent intra-government cooperation and coordination.
Thus we hope the multi-ministerial task force set up by the government to assess GPTC and recommend the best way forward would come up with an overview on the difficulties facing the public transport services, as well as innovative ways in which these difficulties are addressed.
If revived, bus services should be extended to some of the new areas of our country for improved service delivery and integration with better coordination of routes, the integration of fares and ticketing systems, and so on.
Regular inspection will ensure that service and safety standards are adhered to at all times.
We are pleased to notice that the government has set up the task force, and we hasten to urge the government to revive the GPTC to ease the burden of transportation in the country.
We have all witnessed the time when GPTC made transportation easy, convenient and comfortable for the citizenry. There is therefore a need to bring back GPTC to its former glory.
This bus transportation system - with the large buses carrying a minimum of 50 passengers - used by GPTC then, offered the opportunity for mass transportation over long distances.
The major aims of the corporation, as prescribed by the legislation, are to "operate and maintain the public transport services of The Gambia for the conveyance of passengers and goods."
GPTC also provided employment opportunities for a good number of Gambians, be it as an administrator, driver or a bus conductor.
We have to realise that public transportation of people, goods and services is a key social and economic sector in the development of any country.
"To argue that a car is simply a means of conveyance is like arguing that Blenheim Palace is simply a house"