Thousands of citizens from the Niumis, Jokadu and even Baddibu depend on the ferries to cross to and from Banjul on a daily basis. Many of these actually work in Banjul and the Kombos and return to their families in the evening. This helps them socialise and take part in the activities of their families and communities.
However, of late many of them have faced tremendous challenges due to the extremely poor ferry services. Many a time, for a whole day, there will be one ferry plying between Barra and Banjul. This makes them late to work and going home in the evening.
In fact, even the times that a ferry is available it takes so much time that one’s whole day is wasted just to cross to Banjul and back. Incalculable amounts of time is lost and thus money as time is money. If therefore citizens’ time is wasted on crossing, it is making the State lose a lot of revenue.
Last year, the tarrifs were increased such that whereas individuals who used to pay twenty-five dalasis for a ticket began paying thirty-five dalasis for the same. Many people at the time complained that it was too expensive but the hope of better service made them acquiesce.
However, if anything the service has worsened since. One cannot fathom why with all the revenue they collect, they cannot maintain good ferries to help citizens commute without hassle. One very unfortunate feature of the Gambia Ferry Service is their lack of communication when there is a problem. Passengers may spend the whole day waiting and not even a single announcement will be made to let them know when ferry would be available.
It is important that the Gambia Ferry Service look inwards in an attempt to diagnose and treat the problems they Re facing so that they can offer better services to the people.