The Road Transport Corporation (RTC) has done well by bringing in a couple of new buses. This has severely impacted on transportation from places like Lumley where people before now had to wake up and get ready by 5.30am or 6.30am to be able to get into town and get to work. The new buses have added an hour more sleep to a lot of people perhaps this will make them live a little longer.
Also more recently Melian Tours have done well by coming in with luxury buses, affording the ordinary man a ride in an air conditioned vehicle for just a thousand five hundred Leones. They are not the first though because the smaller Gadaffi buses were also air conditioned when they were first put into use by the SLRTC.
Perhaps Melian Tours are encouraged by the road works and are somehow convinced that the buses will have longer life since the roads are being done. One would in such a case doff our hats to Melian Tours because they have seized the opportunity to position themselves so that by the time the roads are finished, both in Freetown and up country they will be the leaders in the transport business.
Indeed the work on the road networks is a boost to transportation and transporters and one hopes that local and indigenous Sierra Leoneans like Abess will also seize the opportunity before foreign nationals enter again and begin to make and take all the profit.
This brings us to the point of improvements. As the buses increase along the routes it is time for the Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority (SLRTA) to begin looking at the minimum standards for public transport.
Gone should be the days when Sierra Leoneans should be forced into rotten buses without windows and no air conditioner, and squeezed up in self constructed seats which are more focused on maximizing the passenger space and hence making more money for the transporter than in considering the safety of the passengers.
Let’s face it some correction most the Poda-poda buses plying the streets have no business doing so. The welded seats are a constant hazard to passengers, and the behaviour of the drivers and apprentices is even more annoying.
All of this was accommodating because the roads were so bad that one had to make do with the rotten stuff that was available. Now the rotten stuff should give way or be forced to give way now that better vehicles are around.
Now that better buses are around the worst of the Podapodas must be forced off the streets. Sierra Leoneans need to enjoy better things so let us now force transporters to respect passengers and give them the comfort and safety they deserve otherwise they should be forced off the streets.