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Commuters and drivers approve ban on overloading

…but accuse gov’t buses of not complying

SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 By Josephine A. Seppeh (Intern)

Minister of Transport and Aviation Logus Balogun Koroma
Minister of Transport and Aviation Logus Balogun Koroma

Despite being subjected to immense discomfort accessing transportation from one point of the city to the other, commuters and drivers interviewed by Concord Times have registered their approval of the new government regulations aimed at eradicating the dreaded Ebola outbreak in the country.

The disease has killed at least 400 persons since May when the first case was confirmed in a remote village in Kailahun, while more than twice that number has tested positive for the virus.

Consequently, government announced last week that beginning Monday (1 September), taxis and mini-buses should reduce the number of passengers they carry to prevent person-to-person contact, one of few ways the virus transits among humans.

Though commuters have had to spend hours to connect from one location to another, many Freetown residents have wholeheartedly embraced the new regulations.

Ibrahim Kallon, a driver who plies the Lumley-Kamayama Park, told Concord Times that he has no problem with the regulation because it’s a measure to contain the Ebola virus in the country.

Government had initially slammed a ban on commercial motorbikes from plying the streets after 7:00pm, with the new regulations regarded as further public health preventives against the spread of the disease in the country.

However, chairman of the Lumley-Kamayama Park, Idrissa Conteh, expressed a contrary view, claiming that drivers were disgruntled that the measure has decreased their profit margin, despite the fact that they still pay the same amount of money to owners of vehicles.

“Most drivers have to work harder than before to get the money required by their masters. They would also have to work harder to make more money because they have families who rely on them for survival,” he said.

Conteh said his members have noted with disapproval that government buses are yet to comply with the regulations.

His claim though couldn’t be independently verified.

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