AMA Boss defends transport sector reforms

Dr. Vanderpuije - Accra Mayor
Dr. Vanderpuije – Accra Mayor

Dr Oko Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive says the reforms introduced by Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in the transport are geared towards the quality and safety of commuters.

He said the public nature of the services rendered by the public transport sector demands standards and control, which should be enforced in the interest of public safety and security.

Dr Vanderpuije was speaking at a news conference organised by the Steering Committee on Urban Transportation in Accra (SCUTA), attended by chief executives of the 13 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in Accra and representatives of transport unions.

He explained that the unregulated services rendered by some transport operators had led to inter-union conflicts, rapidly growing army of “floating” drivers, who are not members of any recognised group and the setting up of lorry stations at unapproved locations.

The AMA boss said some transport services also operates without respect for laid down rules.

“This unfortunate situation frequently results in indiscipline traffic behaviour and create unnecessary congestion and confusion as well as compromising public safety along vital sections of the road network compounding the mobility challenges in Accra,” he said.

Dr Vanderpuije, who is also the Chairman of SCUTA stated that at the national government level, the guiding regulations for transport services are detailed out in the Road Traffic Regulations (LI 2180) which prescribes that commercial vehicle operations should be registered and operated under appropriate licenses and stipulated conditions.

“Section 121 Clause 2 of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2011 clearly state, inter alia, that a person shall not operate as a commercial vehicle driver unless that person is employed by or belongs to a recognised commercial road transport organisation.

“These same regulations also place the responsibility for registration of taxis and control of taxi operations squarely within the ambit of the MMDAs.”

Dr Vanderpuiye said at the local government level, the mandate for regulating provision of transport services is specified in Legislative Instrument (LI) 1961 that establishes Assembly Transport Departments to regulate the use and conduct of public vehicles, including the routes and parking places and the licensing of taxis.

“In furtherance of this mandate the various MMDAs after extensive consultations with…  stakeholders have passed the requisite bye-laws to give clear guidance for operationalising their regulatory functions.”

Dr Vanderpuije explained that to ensure the successful implementation, the assemblies embarked on an extensive stakeholders sensitisation and public education programme to disseminate the objectives and contents of the bye-laws to the transport operator sector and the wider public, and also reduced or waived in some case the cost of securing the requisite permits for public transport operations.

It was therefore, he said, illegal for any transport operator to operate public transport services without the relevant route permit or as a floater or from unapproved locations.

“It has been realized that, there are some operators operating without the required permits and this informed the SCUTA, made up of the Chief Executives of the 13 MMDAs, to take a decision to embark on a massive joint enforcement exercise from October 1, 2013.”

Dr Vanderpuije said the implementation of the reforms is not intended to deprive the transport operators of their legitimate businesses, but rather to create a congenial atmosphere to operate public transportation as seen in other cities.

He announced that the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on the Amasaman to the Central business district corridor would start on July 1, 2014 and subsequently extended to other three corridors as a way of improving transportation.

Some of the transport union representatives at the meeting condemned the actions of the drivers who demonstrated against the directives of the MMDAs and declared support for the stance of the assemblies.

Mr Isaac Djangmah, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, who chaired the function appealed to the assemblies to clear the pavements to create conducive atmosphere for transport business in Accra.

Source: GNA

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