Banjul-Barra Ferry Closure Leaves Commuters Stranded, Passengers Express Frustration

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Kanilia Ferry

By: Alieu Ceesay

The absence of ferry services at Banjul’s boat landing site, which connects Banjul to Barra, led to a chaotic scene on Monday as commuters scrambled to find other means of transportation, causing frustration and delays for many people.

The absence of this vital transportation link has left passengers stranded, navigating uncertainty and logistical challenges in their daily travels across the river.

Gathered at the water’s edge, the faces of those accustomed to reliable ferry crossings were etched with disappointment and concern. For many, this abrupt disruption has affected work schedules, family visits, and essential journeys that depend on the Banjul-Barra route.

Kaddy Sey, a businesswoman who heavily depends on ferry services to commute from Banjul to Barra, is apprehensive about the disruption and notes its impact on her business.

“We all know when the ferry stops operations, but we don’t know when it will resume; we need the ferry back in water. “

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the Gambian coast, a sense of uncertainty loomed over the boat landing site in Banjul.

I stood with Faneh at the edge of the river. He had already missed the day’s lesson due to the ferry. Faneh said local boats are slow and costly.

“Government should help us; it is tough and costly to use these boats to cross,” Faneh said

Ousman Mbour has just landed safely from Barra to Banjul, with no other means of transport than a boat. Like other passengers, he believes the Government has failed them in transportation, especially at the critical Banjul Barra crossing.

“We should know what is wrong with our ferry services. Things are very stressful in this country, and this crossing point is another problem. If the Government is aware of this, they need to come and help us.”

A press release from the management of Gambia Ferry Services states that “Kanilai Ferry has been withdrawn from service for repair works with immediate effect.” The release does not provide a date or duration for the maintenance.

The release added, “Please note that both ferries are currently under maintenance, and there will be no ferry service across the Banjul and Barra route until further notice. Meanwhile, travelers and vehicular operators, in particular, are advised to use the Senegambia Bridge.

During this period of service closure, the management will do everything possible to restore the Banjul-Barra ferry service as soon as possible.

The general public’s understanding is highly solicited as these repair works are geared towards providing safer and more reliable ferry services.” Ferry services said in a press release dated 12th April 2024.

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