By Modou S. Joof
People who use the ferries that ply the seven mile waterway between Banjul and Barra have raised fears over the “worsening conditions of the ferries”.
Only one (Kanilai) of three ferries, presided over by the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), is operational since Feb. 2, 2013.
Passengers told Front Page International (FPI) on Tuesday “We are worried about our plight – especially commuters – as we are largely affected by the increasingly limited access to transport”.
“Crossing from Banjul to Barra or Barra to Banjul has now become a nightmare. Since Saturday, only one ferry (Kanilai) is working and it is too slow – affecting us on a daily basis,” Lamin Manneh said.
“There are small boats but the cost is too much on me on a daily basis,” the 35 year old businessman said. “This is worsening my economic situation.”
“All these ferries are ageing, and they can no longer meet the demands of transportation between Banjul and Barra. I don’t think they are even safe enough,” said Modou Senghore, a high school student.
Mariama Jallow, a cow milk seller, said the situation is frustrating.
“I cannot be boarding these small canoes everyday because I could easily lose my milk. The ferry situation is not good for my business,” Mrs Jallow said.
“All the ferries stop working due to reasons unknown to us and it has a negative impact on our daily lives,” she said in Wolof, a local business language widely spoken in Gambia and Senegal.
A spokesperson for the GPA claims “only the Johé ferry has a technically problem”.
“Because of the low tide (sea level) the Barra ferry is not working these days, it can only work in high tide,” Mr Ansu Gibba said.
He said the GPA has issued a press release to explain to the public about the
In 2012, several members of The Gambia’s National Assembly raised grave concerns over the safety and security of the ferries as a means of transport for thousands of people.