Passengers express frustration following a grueling journey to Dakar on a GTSC bus

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Passengers onboard the GTSC Bus enroute to Dakar

By: Alieu Ceesay

Several passengers on the Gambia Transport Service Company (GTSC) bus traveling to Dakar on Friday evening voiced their dissatisfaction and frustration with the bus company’s management, citing substandard service delivery.

On Friday, May 24, 2024, a GTSC bus bearing the registration number “KM 4675 E” left the Kanifing depot at 09:43, heading for Dakar, Senegal. However, unexpected route alterations and mechanical problems soon made the journey a source of frustration and discomfort for the passengers.

Initially, the driver’s decision to take the Trans-Gambia road via Farafenni instead of the faster Banjul-Barra ferry crossing left many confused and disappointed on board. ‘We all know the ferry is working and crossing Banjul to Barra is faster,’ one passenger remarked, highlighting the need for more communication about the route change, which many had not anticipated when they purchased their tickets. 

The journey’s challenges were exacerbated upon reaching the Kerr Ayub border. After a lengthy stop between 12:55 and 14:15 for immigration clearance and prayers, the bus resumed its journey, but the air conditioning system failed. Passengers’ complaints escalated as they endured unbearable heat. The driver attempted to calm the situation, stating, “The AC will come back to normal around 5-6 pm,” and explaining he had previously reported the issue to his superiors, to no avail. 

Among the distressed passengers was Mariama Sallah, head coach of the Gambia Athletics National team, traveling with six athletes to the Dakar Continental meeting. She expressed her frustration, noting, “GTSC should have told us that they are not using the ferry. We would have crossed and joined a local transport to Banjul, then taken a car to Dakar so my athletes would arrive early and have enough rest.” 

Journalist Baboucarr Nani Sey, another passenger, condemned the situation as a blatant disregard for passenger welfare. “I have seen and heard a lot of complaints on social media and from friends about the bus service, but here I am today as a living witness. It seems they are only interested in collecting our money and disregarding our plight and welfare,” Sey lamented. 

Robert and his uncle Sabastian, Belgian travelers who had a smooth journey to Banjul via the Barra ferry just days earlier, were equally baffled by the extended route. “The ferry is working. I visited the capital yesterday and saw it myself. Why is the driver taking us around for hours before entering Senegal?” Robert questioned. 

By 16:42, the bus arrived in Kaolack, carrying passengers worn out and frustrated by a trip marred by needless delays and discomfort. This highlighted the critical need for GTSC to tackle these operational challenges.

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