The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Stifling crisis | Poor transportation services between Hama city and surrounding areas

Hama province: The acute shortage of fuel has exacerbated the stifling transportation crisis, despite the latest official statements by Hama governor last week, after the meeting with the commission of fuel and public transportation, during which the governor announced that he was working on resolving the difficulties related to the current transportation crisis.


SOHR activists frequently reported about the poor transportation services between Hama city and surrounding villages and the public discontent and anger among the residents, mainly employees and students who arrives at their work and schools late.


Despite official promises by Hama governor about issuance of instructions to drivers of public means of transportation to install GPS devices, residents of Hama province have realised that these promises will remain unfulfilled, especially after the failure of that plan to put an end to the transportation crisis in Homs and Damascus.


SOHR sources have reported that several drivers of public means of transportation have agreed to put all GPS devices in one minibus, so that the rest of drivers can sell their allowances of diesel in black markets and abandon working on the specified roads, letting tens of passengers fall victims to greedy drivers of private taxies.


Speaking to SOHR, a university student known by her initials as S. H. says that she is obligated to go to Hama National University everyday, but she and her friends struggle with chaos, disorder and humiliation, because passengers push each other to get in minibuses, as soon as they arrive in the morning. The girl says that passengers are stacked inside the available minibuses, referring to the fact that the small number of minibuses has contributed to worsening the transportation crisis further.


Another student known as A. A. from Homs province has told SOHR that the transportation crisis has forced him to rent an apartment with some colleges in the medicine faculty in Hama in order to be able to continue his education, as he faced considerable challenges last year, which manifested in the exploitation practiced by drivers of minibuses, who raised fees everyday depending on the overcrowdedness and timid official stances and decision by relevant authorities.


The stifling crisis of public transportation in Hama province has coincided with “flourishing” trade of fuel on black markets in Hama city and near its entrances, as vendors sell diesel, which is allocated to public means of transportation before the drivers sold it to those vendors, to owners of private car. Meanwhile, the residents have called for arrest vendors and interrogate them to reveal the violators and hold them accountable.


It is worth noting that diesel is sold on black markets in Hama province for 7,000 SYP per litre, while the directorate of supply has set the price of diesel used for heating at 650 SYP per litre and duty-free diesel at 2,500 SYP a litre, distributed via smart card. Accordingly, hundreds of families turned to sell diesel used for heating to merchants on black markets because of the considerable difference in prices.