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City of Banjul
Friday, April 19, 2024
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The boats on the Banjul-Barra route

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The people of the Niumis and the Baddibus are suffering the results of the now commonplace breakdowns of the ferries. The commencement of Ramadan has naturally compounded an already complex and difficult situation for them. The hundreds and thousands of people using the Banjul-Barra crossing point are facing numerous challenges.

One would have expected that people will have compassion for these passengers and assist them in any way possible. But that does not seem to apply to the people who operate boat trips between Banjul and Barra. In fact, when it is confirmed that the ferry would not operate on a particular day, they increase the fares for crossing.

Sometimes, commuters are made to pay fares as high as two hundred dalasis for the trip. This does not usually include the amount one pays to the porters who carry one on and off the boat. These people also charge up to D50 just to help one board the boat.

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In effect, it could cost a person up to three hundred dalasis just to cross when there is no ferry. With the ferry operational, one just pays D35. In these hard times when the cost of basic commodities has skyrocketed and people’s earnings have stagnated, it is truly inhumane to make an individual part with D300 just to cross to one side of the river.

Perhaps this makes the issue of the ferries even more poignant especially during the Holy Month of Ramadan. In addition to the fact that the risk factor multiplies with the boat, the financial difference will make a huge dent in the pockets of already struggling Gambians.

Here is a case therefore to nudge the Government of the Gambia to do whatever it takes to ensure that a proper and effective sea travel arrangement is made for Banjul and Barra. 

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