Jul 16, 2009, 7:47 AM
One of the most important things that the River Gambia is used for is transportation.
However, due to the heavy downpour of rains over the past weeks, resulting in ferry ramp approaches at Basse and Fatoto stations being under water, ferries are out of service at both crossing points.
As a result, people in the Upper River Region and their guests who need to cross the river either in the Fatoto area or Wuli are feeling the pinch.
There is no crossing of vehicles, as at now, in Basse thus making it very inconvenient for commuters over there.
The level of water in Basse area is too high beyond imagination. For instance, people are forced to use small boats to cross the river which makes the demand on boat services high, and the price for crossing has also risen from D5.00 to D10.00.
Our concern here is about the safety of the passengers, especially on busy days like lumos (weekly market days), when the traffic is usually very high and none of these boats - except MRC rented boats (for their staff) carry life jackets.
Also sometimes, the boats will go through areas where there might be snakes, thus putting the lives of people at risk.
Another problem noticed at these two crossing points is that, sometimes there are strong winds, which force the boats to change direction, thus make it very challenging for some captains to control the boats.
All these and many others make it necessary for a bridge to be built in Basse, in particular.
We are also appealing to the National Disaster Management Agency, Concern Universal and other development partners to also consider donating life jackets to the boats at the two crossing points.
Meanwhile, the high cost of crossing by boats is also reported to have affected the price of commodities in the Wuli and Sandu districts, on the other side of the river, from Basse.