By Sailu Bah
Speaking to this reporter on Monday, 18 August 2014, Modou Dibba said the members of their association are complaining about the large craters or potholes on the roads they take to come in and out of the capital city transporting passengers. He said the entrance to the car park is equally in a serious state of disrepair and needs fixing as well.
“The bad condition of the roads in Banjul has been a problem for many years but it always becomes worse during the rainy season,” said the vice president of the Banjul commercial van drivers association.
Mr. Dibba said every year, they spend nothing less than D7, 000 to put in place temporal measures, by hiring trucks with stones and pouring them on some parts of the garage and the road.
According to Mr. Dibba, many commercial vehicles are not coming to Banjul anymore and this, he said, is causing transportation difficulties and yielding low income for them.
“This Banjul car park is a hub that serves passengers travelling to different destinations covering places as far as Brikama and Gunjur,” he said.
Mr. Dibba explained that they collect D15 from each vehicle that enters the car park and these monies are put in a fund which they use to solve problems of drivers and also as allowance for those who are responsible for running the car park. He said they also use this money to settle fines imposed on drivers and other expenses relating to their work at the car park.
He claimed that they have been seeking for assistance from the BCC to address the poor condition of the road but have not succeeded yet.
Speaking to one of the commercial vehicle drivers, he said the condition of the roads in Banjul compel some of them to stop going there or making few trips in order to avoid damaging their vehicles. He said by resorting to making few trips to Banjul mean less income for them.
Another van driver said now he will not ply the Banjul-Serekunda route until the rains are over. He lamented the craters and pools of stagnant rain water that mark the streets in the capital.
The drivers noted that the bad roads do force them to go for regular maintenance which, they added, is very expensive.
They called on both the government and the Banjul municipal authorities to help them remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Responding to the concerns raised by the van drivers, Mr. Sandigi Njie, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Banjul City Council, said he is aware of the condition of the roads but added that as at now, he cannot dwell much on the issue. He however promised to talk to Foroyaa on the matter as soon as possible.