May 8, 2015 By Regina Pratt
Provincial commuters have expressed dissatisfaction over the decision by government to withdraw buses plying provincial routes for the exclusive use of passengers in Freetown.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma, revealed this week that the buses had been withdrawn from provincial routes in order to ease transportation challenges for school children in the capital.
“My ministry’s mandate is to provide public transport for the people. Transportation is still a problem all over the world,” he said and added that hundred buses bought by the government from China would arrive at the Freetown quay by end of June.
But many commuters who spoke to Concord Times condemned the decision to withdraw a handful of buses which used to ply the provincial routes; a development they said would only add to their suffering, not least as the rains are imminent.
A civil servant in Makeni, Bernard Conteh, lamented that stopping buses from plying provincial routes would spell disaster for provincial passengers, not least traders who buy their wares in Freetown to sell in the provinces.
Also, Adama Turay, a trader in Bo, southern Sierra Leone, said the decision to withdraw the buses from provincial routes was a cause for grave concern because they consider it unfair.
“So now we are required to wait for about a month or two before getting normal bus service. There are lots of inconveniences when travelling with private vehicles,” she said, apparently alluding to the hundred buses which the transport minister has assured will arrive in Freetown latest June to alleviate the acute transportation problem in the country.
However, John Samai, also resident in Bo, said he would be comfortable travelling on private commercial vehicles because as a businessman they provide easy means of transportation.