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Reckless traffic management in the capital

Reckless traffic management in the capital

The traffic division of the Sierra Leone Police, a force that regards itself as a force for good, is a huge disappointment in the sense that that division has failed the expectation of many road users in the city of Freetown.

We agree that Freetown is heavily populated; some say this is due to the protracted rebel war which displaced the rural population, many of who found their way into the capital at the height of the war.

Even after the end of the disarmament programme in 2001 which saw a lot of our internally displaced people returning to their original homes, many others preferred to remain in Freetown thereby swelling the resident population.

The resultant effect is stiff competition or rather a bitter struggle for scarce resources by residents of the capital. The pile of garbage which has become a social menace that has defied every available remedy is a physical example of population explosion which has plagued our ancient city.

If the human congestion has not already caused enough damage to a once quiet and beautiful city, the erratic traffic management by traffic agents that has seen commuters spending endless hours in the traffic is now a security concern to city dwellers.

Some may want to attribute the traffic congestion to the increasing number of vehicles now plying our routes.

But for others, it is the way and manner the police and their collaborators are managing the traffic flow in the city. Currently, there are three principal agents manning the traffic from Allen Town in the far east to Goderich in the west end of the capital. These are the regular traffic police, traffic wardens and representatives of the drivers union. A fourth category, the motor bike wardens have added to the number.

All of these traffic personnel combined have not been able to bring sanity in the day-to-day management of traffic, hence have failed to ensure a smooth flow of vehicles on these designated routes.

The frustration generated among commuters who spend endless hours to move from one destination to another is reaching a breaking point.

The government needs to do something about it, and this must be done urgently if we are to avoid a social unrest in this busy city.

If the police and all these agents have failed to effect a smooth traffic flow, we at Sierra Express Media suggest that government privatize the traffic management.

We say so because what we see happening on these roads is that the police have transformed traffic management into a lucrative business. Instead of concentrating on controlling the traffic, the police are busy extorting money from commercial drivers who in turn no longer obey traffic rules.

In other words, as the police have made traffic management a money making venture, traffic rules are now flouted with impunity. This apparent impunity has encouraged commercial drivers to run short cuts, as the case may be, such that passengers now spend two or three times more on transport fares to reach their final destination.

All this happens in the full view of traffic officers. Its high time new strategies are designed to minimize the time and money wasted by commuters while moving from one place to another.

Traffic officers are a big disappointment to this city!

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