The Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodio, Hon Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to activate their bylaws and decongest bus terminals and lorry parks of commercial shops.
According to him, the presence of commercial shops in designated bus terminals and lorry stations in the country, especially in the cities has forced most buses to operate on the street thereby causing a nuisance.
Hon Vanderpuye who is the Ranking of the Local Government and Rural Development Committee of Parliament made the call in parliament when the Minister for Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah appeared before the House on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, to answer questions from members.
The Minister was responding to an urgent question posed by the MP for Buem, Hon Kofi Iddi Adams, who wanted to know what the Ministry is doing to reduce vehicular accidents on the roads generally and specifically on dual and multiple lane roads.
In his response, the Minister explained among other things that the government is procuring about 100 new buses to augment the current fleet of buses in the system.
But Hon Vanderpuye said the Ministry should as well tackle the issue of congested buses terminals by commercial shops and brisk business that took over every available space in terminals.
The lawmaker told EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, the assemblies that have to ensure sanity in the terminals for the buses to operate rather appeared to have reneged on their duties and allowed traders to take over the bus terminals with their containers and concrete shops and renting out some.
“If you want to control congestion, it is important you look at how you utilize the system. Over the period I have observed the assemblies have reneged on their responsibilities and have allowed people to turn the bus terminals into commercial shops. People are using the terminals for their shops and the assemblies are unconcerned.
“The Ministry wants to procure additional 100 buses, but you are adding onto the congestion, the bus terminals have been taking over, the buses now load on the streets and this is not only in Accra, but it is also all over the country and you see the trotro stops on the streets to pick passengers. The designated terminals and lorry parks have been occupied by commercial traders,” Nii Lantey stated.
He said despite the fact that the assemblies derive revenue from the commercial shops’ operators, the assemblies could still benefit from the bus terminals, stressing that, the sanity in the bus terminals is also for the public good and decongesting the terminals to allow smooth operation would be for the public interest.
The MP, therefore, called for a coordinated effort between the Ministries of Transport and the Local government to collaborate with the assemblies and stakeholders to free the cities and manage the transport system to in sanitizing the cities and ensuring decongested buses terminals for free movement and parking of buses at the terminal.
The Minister told Parliament the Akufo-Addo led government has promised to boost the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMTL) fleet with 600 new buses soon.
According to Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the move is part of measures to revamp the operations of the MMTL.
Metro Mass was established to provide intra-city, inter-urban and rural-urban bus services in the country. The policy framework for the financing and operations of the MMTL was that government will provide support for the acquisition of buses to enable MMT to provide relatively cheaper and affordable mass transportation services to the public as a necessary social service.
The Minister in response to a similar question filed by the MP for Adaklu, Kwame Governs Agbodza gave a breakdown of the buses.
“Mr. Speaker, a total of 100 new intercity buses have so far been supplied to the MMTL at a total cost of $17.5 million. This was financed by the government. We have also signed a contract with VDL Bus Roselare for the supply of 100 intercity buses, spare parts, and training services. Under the same contract, a total of 50 broken-down VDL buses at MMTL would be repaired to augment the fleet. This project is also being financed with a €25.49 million mixed credit facility from the government of Belgium and Belfius Bank SA/NV. As I speak, the first batch of 45 buses are in production and expected to be delivered by the second quarter of this year,” the Minister said.
He added that the government “is pursuing other avenues to bring in more buses to revamp the operations of the MMTL.
Currently, the Minister said, Value for Money Assessment is being undertaken for the supply of 300 Hyundai Buses from Korea and additional 200 buses from China.
“We expect to add a total of 600 new buses within the short-medium term period,” he said in response to the question by the Adaklu MP, Kwame Governs Agbodza who asked how many buses had been procurement for the MMTL since 2017, how much they cost and how it was funded.
Send your news stories and articles to email@example.com or via WhatsApp +233 543 900 732