Commuters Lament Delays at Banjul-Barra Ferry Crossing

By Muhammed Sailu Bah

Travelers using the Banjul – Barra ferries are lamenting the time that is wasted at the terminals due to the long delay they are Passengers stampeding to enter the ferrycompelled to endure as there is only one ferry plying the crossing.

This concern was being raised by the passengers as well as drivers of vehicles when this reporter made a return crossing by ferry on Thursday, 4 June 2015 and encountered the same experience. According to some of the commuters, this has been going on for more than one week now.

Speaking to Buba Bojang, one of the travelers who also resides in the North Bank Region (NBR), he said ‘Johe’ which is the fastest ferry among the fleet has been the only one that was plying the route for more than a week and that it is now replaced by the one called ‘Kanilai’ which, he added is very slow.

He said the fact that there is only one ferry now doing the rounds means having more passengers needing to cross.

“It takes more than one hour thirty minutes before the ferry arrives and that when it comes, passengers have to wait for about 20 minutes or so before boarding. Because of the long delay all the passengers could not fit in the ferry and some have to wait for hours again for the ferry to return to pick them up,” said Bojang.

A driver returning to Banjul said he managed to cross with his small private vehicle going to Nuimi but could not get it on board the ferry when coming back because of the lack of space.

“When I came to the Barra terminal I found a lot of vehicles waiting queue to cross on board the ferry, so I couldn’t cross on board it. I have to go to Banjul and leave the car at Barra and went for it the following day,” he explained.

Similar comments were made by other passengers and drivers who also called on the management of the ferry service to facilitate the easy crossing by providing adequate and efficient ferries to eliminate the unnecessary delays they are forced to encounter when travelling.

When Ansumana Gibba, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) was contacted on the issue, he referred this reporter to the spokesperson of the ferry services. However, attempts to reach the ferries PRO through the phone were unsuccessful but Foroyaa will continue with the efforts to get their position on the cause of the delays at the crossings and when they will be addressed.