Amid road safety concerns Senegalese transport unions gear up for strike

Ahead of an unlimited bus drivers strike, fear is growing among Senegalese passengers as tension builds among drivers.

On Monday, a new fatal bus accident cost the life of at least 19 people, bringing the death toll of car crashes to about 60 in a matter of days.

In order to achieve safe mobility, road users identify different causes to Senegal’s road traffic mortality.

“Accidents are due to many things, Amadou Ba says. People talk about the roads, but there are also the buses, which are old, they carry a lot of luggage and handle poorly. The drivers are tired and they drive all night long.”

The government responded by announcing nearly two dozen measures, including limiting buses and trucks to 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph), banning night buses and outlawing the import of used tyres — the suspected cause of last week’s accident. However, some transport unions called certain dispositions out of touch with reality and lifestyles.

Given the harsh economic times, Mansour Fal, a bus driver had to cut staff.

“I had seven apprentices and three other drivers who helped me with long distances. Today I decided to fire five apprentices and one driver. What will happen to them now?”

“They all have families to take care of. I had no choice because the state decided to remove the surplus of seats in the buses, the diesel oil has increased, the customers do not accept that we increase the costs of transport, in the end we will work at a loss.”

Bus companies have already secured a one-year delay in a proposed ban on placing luggage on roof racks to prevent vehicles from becoming imbalanced.

According to the World Bank, Senegal, a country of 17 million, records 24 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants annually.

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