A transportation crisis in Damascus and its countryside has severely exacerbated due to a lack of public and private transport means, as a result of a fuel shortage especially in government-controlled areas.
Main roads in Damascus and those leading to the city center witness - in the early morning and afternoon hours - hundreds of citizens walking along the roads, waiting for public transport or special microbuses to take them to and from their workplaces.
The past few days also witnessed a big rush to obtain a place or a seat in a public bus, with people sometimes quarreling and coming to blows.
Social media posts showed shocking pictures and videos of large crowds gathering at transportation stations and on the roads, and other stampedes and quarrels over the priority to board the buses.
Younes, a university student living in a western suburb of the capital, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the situation was “tragic.” He said that he preferred to walk from his neighborhood to the university, despite the distance, because he might wait an hour or more for the arrival of a bus that would already be packed.
Abou Maher, another older citizen, said he was unable to walk and did not have the ability to use public and private transportation because of the severe congestion. Instead, every morning, he waits on the side of the road away from gatherings and waves for private cars to assist him.
“There are still good people who stop by and I go with them,” he remarked.
A member of the Transport sector executive office in the Damascus governorate, Mazen Al-Dabbas, recently admitted in press statements that the reason for the current transportation crisis was the limited number of buses and the fuel shortage. He added that some microbuses were working for schools and private companies, which leads to more traffic congestion.
Dabbas noted that the government Internal Transport Corporation runs 120 public buses in the Damascus governorate, while private companies operate 100 internal transport buses at maximum capacity and have more than one daily shift.