By MUHAMMED S . BAH
Long queues of vehicles are being observed again at two military check points mounted on the Banjul /Serrekunda highway.
These check points are causing a great delay to passengers travelling in and out of the City of Banjul.
An additional checkpoint is mounted late in the evening around the hours of 7pm at Kamalo.
Until recently delays at the checkpoints were minimal but it has now escalated again making one to spend up to 1 hour 30 mins travelling from Serrekunda contrary to the usual fifteen to twenty-five minutes.
The reintroduction of a military checkpoint at Kamalo near the Cape Point junction, in addition to the one at Denton Bridge, has been slowing down traffic into the capital city of Banjul since Friday, 26 August 2016.
Commuters are lamenting the intensification of the security checks on the Banjul-Serekunda highway which, according them has now transformed this 15 minutes journey on this 13 kilometres stretch into a nightmare lasting quite often for more than an hour. The delay creates a long queue of vehicles which is said to be worse in the evenings. This also has its consequences such as the scarcity of commercial vehicles to take passengers to Banjul, especially in the evening, as drivers refuse to go there because of the long queues and delays.
Travellers to Banjul during this period always converge in large numbers on the highway at Westfield near NAWEC scrambling for transport to take them home or to work or on personal missions.
In Banjul travellers who cross from the North Bank and commuters who work in Banjul are seen in their scores on the streets of Banjul mainly on Box Bar Road desperately looking for a vehicle to take them home. Many of them can be seen roaming the streets till late at night, in search of vehicles due to the delay at the check points.
Passengers in these commercial vehicles are often heard expressing dissatisfaction and the challenges they face travelling to the city of Banjul especially at night.
A young female student who commutes between Banjul and Serrekunda daily to attend classes at a tertiary institution of learning could be heard saying in the vehicle that she closes by 7pm, but sometimes arrives home as late as 9pm.
“This is what I face almost everyday,” she remarked.
Travellers who travel from the Kombos to the North Bank often express the fear of missing the last ferry due to the delay at the check points.
A traveller departing from Banjul told this reporter that since after 7pm he had been standing at the main Banjul garage to find a vehicle to go to the Kombos but couldn’t get one, so he decided to trek up to Gambia Senior Secondary School in search of a vehicle.