September 27, 2021
By Nkumba Sillah
Commuting within the Greater Banjul Area has in recent times become a ‘hellish’ affair. Residents are lamenting that apart from being fleeced by greedy commercial drivers they have to endure agonising wait and journeys. For example, a journey from Wellingara to West Field could take ages. Multitudes of people usually line the highways waiting to board buses or taxes to their work places or elsewhere. But it could be so frustrating.
In the words of a commuter: “You hail an empty taxi, but the driver will simply shake his head and drive on. Most will only stop if you say, ‘town trip’. For goodness sake, how many people in this country can afford to take a town trip? A few weeks ago I needed to rush down to Junction Bar in Sukuta to meet up an urgent appointment. I wanted to take a town trip from Kaw Junction in Latrikunda, but immediately changed my mind when the taxi driver said I have to pay three hundred and fifty dalasi (D350.00). And he said it with flat finality.
For me it was a ridiculous finality. When you eventually get a bus or taxi you have to grapple with traffic congestion; vehicles move at snail pace and fully stop at periods of time. One has to endure a sweltering heat; it is even worse if you board one of the luxurious buses plying the Tabokoto –West Field-Banjul route. The apprentices usually take in as many people as possible in what is supposed to be a luxury vehicle, until people, most of them standing, get parked inside like sardines. The situation is even worse off on weekdays, especially during the morning rush-hour and in the evenings when people are returning from work.”
Traffic congestion occurs when a volume of traffic generates demand for space greater than the available road capacity; could it be that the population of The Gambia is increasing, or the number of automobiles in the country is getting too high? If one or both is the case, then the solution is expansion of the roads.
The Progress Newspaper will seek the views of experts on possible ways to solve this nagging problem and make life easier for the suffering commuters.