The population of Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, is 40,000. The Greater Banjul Area has a population estimated at 380,000. As people increasingly flock to the city, its road network is coming under increased pressure, especially when it comes to public transportation.
The long-term development challenges facing The Gambia are related to its mobility, poor transportation framework, poor construction of road and high population growth to access the service.
A key deficiency in managing urban transport is lack of institutional authority due to the multiplicity of agencies involved.
Public transportation within the city
These are mini bus-style carriers that can accommodate 20 – 28 passengers depending on the condition and size of each individual vehicle. However, it often becomes overcrowded due to their low cost compared with other carriers.
Minivans are a favorite among many commuters, but they carry fewer people compared to Gelegele.
12 Nov 2018 voicegambia.com
Many people find it difficult to reach their workplace due to traffic congestion, and also lack good roads in the Greater Banjul Area.
A student said sometimes he spent about one hour on the road before getting a commercial vehicle to home or to work, adding that traffic jams delay his time because he always arrives late at his office.
Rely on Loan
10 Feb 2020 Freedom Newspaper
The truth is that the government is presently looking for an additional bailout from the IMF, very soon you will hear that they have signed another credit facility with the Fund.
The public debt of The Gambia is already dangerously hovering around 81 percent off GDP.
Sustainable Profitable solution
Relying on loans from foreign countries cannot be sustained because inherent problems such as shortage of cash notes, driver’s fraud, and fake money for public transportation are not resolved.
From the lesson from different countries, the improper financial management of public transportation can be improved by introducing an Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system.
Automatic fare collection (AFC) system as a crowdfunding tool
The AFC system can bring good cash flow to the public transportation system as there are a deposit and unused value on each passenger card. Every million passengers will contribute over US$ 1 million in cash flows based on our study. There will be approximately US$ 380,000 in cash flows for The Greater Banjul Area to invest in infrastructure.
Besides stopping fake money and driver’s fraud, the AFC system will bring in recurrent income from transaction fees. Every million passengers will bring US$ 5 million in income per year if the transaction fee is 5% based on our study. So, there will be US$ 1.9 million in income per year for Banjul.
Sustainable growth in public transportation development can be easily achieved.
Although Gambia has a GDP per capita of USD 1,713 in 2019, there is a high debt level of 81% of GDP. To improve the growth of the economy, there is a social need for public transportation improvement especially in the Greater Banjul Area with 380,000 population.
With all these old minivans and gelegeles, it is hard to finance an expensive AFC system.
However, with a low-cost AFC, it must generate sufficient revenues for its financial sustainability, to continually service the ever-expanding social and economic demand.
Connecting people to job opportunities and other social needs could be easily achieved.
The writer is a frequency traveler. For more detail, please visit autofare.net.