By Sailu Bah
This is one of the busiest hubs within the Kanifing Municipality as it serves passengers going to and from Lamin, the ‘Coastal Road’ settlements of the Sinchus and Brikama.
Speaking to this reporter last week, Omar Jagne, a van driver decried the condition of the car park, describing it as filthy and muddy. He added that this has been a problem for many years now and which they have been coping with all this while.
“It is not easy for drivers to be paying road tax every year and not being provided with good roads and car parks in return. We pay as tax D10, 080 for a 10 passenger vehicle, D10, 200 for those that carry more than 10 passengers and D5000 for the smaller taxis,” said Jagne.
He also lamented the poor condition of the roads which, he said, requires them to be going for maintenance every week.
Ismaila Ceesay, another van driver, reiterated the concerns raised by his colleague, adding that the condition of the car park has driven some of their clients away as some would rather wait for vehicles on the road to avoid getting soiled in the mud.
“The condition of the car park and the roads are really of grave concern to us as it is here that we earn our living to support our families. If this place and the roads are not in good state, then it becomes a real problem for us. It therefore needs urgent fixing by the concerned authorities,” said Ceesay.
For his part, Amadou Mbye, the deputy head of the car park, acknowledged that the drivers have always been complaining about their problems to them. He said the D10 which they ask drivers to pay serves as a fund from which they settle problems that occur between drivers and passengers and other traffic related issues.
Mr. Mbye said they do not have the financial capacity to build the car park or provide road maintenance. He said what they normally do is spend nothing less than D5000 every year to do temporal maintenance of the car park to enable vehicles to access the place when it rains.
“Whenever it rains, the water will carry along plastic wastes and other dirty things from different places and dumped them here. We don’t have the capacity to remove all this dirt from the car park or to maintenance the road,” he remarked.
He confirmed that the present state of the car park has discouraged both passengers and vehicles from coming there and that this is having a dent in their earnings.
Alagie Touray, the head of the car park (chef de garage), said they have been working on these problems and coming up with temporal measures for all these years. He said they have been tabling their concerns before the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) for them to assist but that they are yet to intervene.
Mr. Touray disclosed that they have spent more than D24, 000 in the past 8 years to improve the condition of the car park, but the situation is getting worse as they do not have the means to get a better facility and good roads.
He concluded by appealing to both the government and the municipal council to help them rehabilitate the car park and construct good roads for their vehicles to ply.
Speaking to this reporter in her office on Thursday, 21 August 2014, in response to the concerns of the drivers at the Serekunda car park, Madam Fatou Sillah, KMC PRO, said she is not aware of any complaints on the issues. She, however, promised to get to the ground to appraise the situation herself.
The KMC PRO said she would take the opportunity to appeal to the members of the community that the Council is here to serve them and that they should not hesitate to approach it for services. “We would want them to come and present their concerns here first before going to the media,” she appealed.