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Viral claim tickets for Freetown’s new buses last 12 hours, false

Claim: Numerous social media users claim that the tickets for new buses will last for 12 hours.

Verdict: False. The company running the bus and the project spokesperson said the tickets are valid for one ride. 

Full Text

Freetown has a huge demand for public transportation, given that the city has over 2 million residents. This demand means the government and private players constantly find ways to improve public transportation.  

In 2019, a $50 million World Bank project– the Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project, expanded some roads and did several other engineering works on footpaths and other transport infrastructure across Freetown. 

The project culminated in purchasing 50 buses, 47 of which started running on Tuesday, Jan 30, carrying passengers on a free pilot ride to their destinations. The pilot of the buses has been controversial because the Ministry of Transport designated a particular route for them while blocking other private commercial transportation from using them. 

A private company, Metro Transport, runs the buses. 

On Wednesday, Jan 31, several posts emerged on social media with people claiming that the bus tickets would last for 12 hours. The claim has generated a lot of excitement from users and scepticism from others. The buses have been running for free from Jan 30 and will continue until Feb 1, after which commuters must pay for each ride. 

The ticket cost is Le10 ($0.80) for a single ride, and there has been a lot of public debate about it. The standard price for transportation from one distance to another within the city is Le6.  

Twitter user @FrancisTuray8 claimed on his X account that people can use the ticket for 12 hours so people can go to school, the market, and other places within the supposed 12-hour valid period. His X post had been viewed more than 4000 times but has since been deleted after a backlash from some readers.

A screenshot of @FrancisTuray8 post on X

The same claim also appeared on Facebook, with Lux Liberite Lavish stating that the ticket was valid for a day. The assertion has also been widely shared on WhatsApp. 

Verification

To verify this, DUBAWA spoke to two people in charge of arranging the buses. The company’s Secretary General is running the buses, Thomas Barnett, and the spokesperson for the IRUMP project that bought the buses, Batu Shamel.

Batu Shamel said: “It is not true; the tickets are valid for one ride, that is, from one distance to another.”

She said they are developing a Q&A to answer many of these concerns. 

Barnett also told DUBAWA,” That is not true, it’s a single-ride ticket. Somebody just wrote on social media that it lasts for 12 hours.”

Conclusion

After speaking to sources that have direct knowledge about the running of the buses, the verdict on this claim is false.

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