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“Waka Fine left over 62,000 people under heavier pains…” Dr. Blyden, Socio-Political Activist analyses

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“Waka Fine left over 62,000 people under heavier pains…” Dr. Blyden, Socio-Political Activist analyses

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Socio-Political Activist, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has said the Waka Fine World Bank Project was meant to make life easier for 75,000 commuters in Freetown but poor implementation has led to more than 62,000 people now under heavier pains.

She said: “According to the $50Million World Bank project document (in paragraph 35 on page 16), over 75,000 Freetown residents are needing public transport daily; as of 5 years ago in 2019. 5 years later, that 75,000 number is now higher in 2024. But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the population of Freetown needing public transport is still stagnant at 75,000.

“According to data released by the Government, 180,000 tickets were sold in the 7 Days span between Feb 2nd and 8th. 180,000 tickets divided by 7 days equals to a total of 25,714 tickets per day. This equals to 12,857 persons doing to and fro trips – 1 ticket to go and 1 ticket to return.

“This means that, less than 13,000 commuters are served by Waka Fine daily in Freetown. If we minus 13,000 from the 75,000 commuters stated in World Bank project, it leaves 62,000. So more than 62,000 public transport users are being forced to ride on “alternative routes” or if they cannot access the alternative routes, they are left without any access to public transport.

“During peak hours, a stroll along the alternative routes in the East and in the West of Freetown, outside of the corridors, gave me a shocking & painful sight to behold. The TRAFFIC is choked, horrendous and unimaginable. So much pains. This TRAFFIC is because 62,000 out of the usual 75,000 commuters are being cramped to traverse along smaller, badly paved “alternative roads” that simply cannot carry such a massive number – hence the massive traffic jams.

“Making matters WORSE is that even the 13,000 persons now have to pay NLe10 for journeys that many previously used to pay just NLe5. Many of us in governance or in mainstream Opposition parties, don’t use public transport. For many of us, we only see the ostensibly cleared good roads and we never visit chocked up “alternative routes” so we don’t see how the struggle for ordinary ‘common man’ is real.

“Choking 62,000 persons on bad roads with less than 13,000 persons benefiting from ‘corridors’ selectively created on the good roads, makes no sense. Government should revisit the enforcement of “alternative routes” before one, of our ‘resilient’ people, dies (May God forbid) along horrific traffic jams on “alternative routes”.

Dr. Blyden advised that the government needs to look into her stated points with all possible seriousness and that in her next piece on this Waka Fine Bus matter, she will write about the further pains of Freetown commuters over inadequate access to obtain Waka Fine tickets.

For now, she concluded, she remain hopeful of a change in policy vis-a-vis those “alternative routes” where 62,000 citizens are crammed.

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