By Yankuba Jallow
The Gambia Transport Service Company (GTSC) have denied allegation circulating on the social media that they have increased transport fares and are as well engaged in overcrowding their buses, amid COVID-19.
Speaking to the press today, Seedy Kanyi, the general manager GTSC said there is no element of truth in the news published by a popular social media platform, ‘Whats on Gambia.’ The online platform alleged that the GTSC has increased fares from Kombo to Soma in the Lower River Region from D130 to D375. Also, the medium alleged that the guidelines on social-distancing (safe-spacing) are not observed since the buses are overloaded. Bah said he was surprised to see the bus he boarded on full to capacity. In addition, the medium alleged that the GTSC increased the tariff for luggage. He said at the bus station in Brikama, there were no hand sanitizers, water or soap for them to wash their hands before entering the bus.
“We were packed inside like sardines,” the author said.
Kanyi said the message published online was not true.
“The message is not true. Coronavirus is true and deadly. We cannot be reckless,” he said.
On the allegation of overloading, Kanyi said their company has instructed all their employees to adhere to the health guidelines and not to overload the buses. Mr Kanyi detailed that they carry twenty-passengers in the buses with the capacity of seventy.
“We are always reminding our staff about the COVID-19 regulations. Anyone found wanting will be seriously dealt with,” he said.
Kanyi said if in case the number of passengers is many in a particular bus station, the Company usually deploys additional buses to carry them to their respective destinations.
“We don’t overload our buses. We cannot allow that to happen,” he said.
The deputy general manager of GTSC, Raymond Ceesay said they have asked the bus drivers not to move when they have one passenger more than they are supposed to carry.
“We are not going to expose our staffs, be it the drivers or conductors, to COVID-19,” he said.
On the allegation of fare increment, Kanyi said they have fare tariff that has been approved by their board which they cannot go against. He added that the fares that the writer alleged were not true. A copy of the transport tariff was given to each media house for verification purpose. Kanyi called on the general public to report any issues to the company adding they have an open door policy to the public wherein people can and lodge their complaints directly to the company and actions would be taken, if anyone is found wanting.