• February 2, 2024

50 buses… Citizens’ mix feelings

50 buses… Citizens’ mix feelings
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By Hassan Osman Kargbo

Sierra Leoneans especially Freetownians have experienced a three-day free buses ride in Freetown from the 30th of January 2024, to the 1st of February 2024And according to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, from the 2nd of February 2024, 6am to 10pm daily citizens would start to pay NLe 10 for a single ride ticket. This new buses have made people to raise a lot of concerns ranging from it price of ticket, the sustainability of the buses, the notice from the government that prohibit public vehicles from using the new road are all serious concerns raised by the people among other things.

This has brought a lot of mixed feelings among citizens depending to whom you talk to. But, with the inspection of these buses it seem like there could still be a problem for citizen. It not a secret that people have been facing with a lot of transportation constrains in Freetown which the coming of the buses could have minimized, if not to solve the problem of transportation in the country.

It seems like it is a different scenario since it was established in the capital. According to the notice which was issued by the government explaining the route of the buses, it operate on two corridors that is for the East from Calaba Town to Bus Station and for the West it is from Lumley to Bus Station.

Forum News SL tried to get the view of the public in relation to the 50 buses in the country. During the first two days of the three days free rides, Isatu Mansaray, who stays at Shell new road stated that, she appreciate the efforts of the government in providing those buses and she said because of the transportation problem the inception of the buses is timely. But, her only concern was that why the government decided to stop all commercials vehicles not to use the new road during the day. She continued that only if the government had left those commercials vehicles using the new road there would have been more competition in the transportation market in the country.

She admitted that the burden of standing under the sun waiting for more than one hour or the problem of fighting and even sometimes injured themselves just to on board commercial vehicles could have been reduced if the government allows the public transport to run in their normal routes in the city. She however noted that the government needs to review its decision because all the public vehicles are finding it difficult to cope with the situation in the old road.

John Amara, a resident at Braima line, expressed his satisfactions towards the buses in a town. He noted that the coming of those buses has ease transportation for the people especially for them that resides in the East, adding that despite the price is high but if they reflect on the constraints the Eastern people faced before this time, no one can complain about the price because the buses are available without delay.

‘Before this time, some of us find it difficult to get transportation in the morning and also in the evening hours. I normally woke up around 6 just to catch up with transport early and we even stuck at Eastern Police for an hours or so waiting for vehicles to come to take us to our various destination. Some public transport could sometimes prefer to ply the old road while the old road vehicles are intact just for people to face more difficulties in transportation in the country. That is why I am happy for the decision from the government to relocate them to the old road,’ he lamented.

He continued that they sometimes walk from eastern police to Upgun just to get access to vehicle and after getting to Upgun they could still pay the same amount of money just like the Eastern Police distance.

He added that people should try to adapt to this rules from the government because he had the conviction that everything would be fine as time progresses.

Amanita Thullah, who stays at Wellington, noted that the government is ready to make things easy for the public but some set of people are trying to play politics on the 50 buses which she said it too bad for the progress of the nation.

She admitted that there are currently challenges and she called on the government to look at those challenges in a not long distance future.

In all of these, the government through the Transport Ministry needs to work so that the concerns raised by the public could be amended. We realized that things are not easy to be quick fix but only if people are committed to it, the problem of transportation could be a thing of the past.

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