Regional News of Friday, 4 October 2013
Source: Mohammed Saani Ibrahim- The Accra Times
Accra Major Tells Floating Drivers
The Mayor of Accra, hon. Dr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, has called on floating transport operators who do not belong to any recognized Transport Union to join existing Union of their choice or formed their own Union.
Joining existing or forming their own recognizable Unions will bring sanity in the sector as well as help capture their data for proper and effective monitoring of their activities, the Mayor added.
Hon. Vanderpuye made the call when he addressed a cross section of the media during the occasion of a press conference organized by the Steering Committee on Urban Transportation in Accra [SCUTA] at the premises of the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council [RCC].
Hon. Vanderpuye who doubles as the SCUTA Chairman pointed out that the governmental mandate in Ghana for regulating passenger road transport is spelt out at both the national and local government levels. The mandate for regulation at the local government level is specified in L I 1961 that established the 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, the Accra Mayor disclosed that the various thirteen Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies [MMDAs] within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa in the Central Region after extensive consultation with all stakeholders have passed the requisite bye-laws to give guidance for operationalizing their regulatory function.
He stressed that the Assemblies do not look at the implementation of the bye-laws and the reforms in general as an opportunity to improve its revenue generation but rather as a means of ensuring that the quality of service provided the commuter is consistently improved.
In the interest of public safety and transport organization, it is therefore thus illegal for any transport operator to operate public transport services without the relevant route permit or as a floater from unapproved locations.
He also used the opportunity to emphasize that the reforms is not intended to deny current floaters opportunities to engage legitimately in providing public transport services adding that the time has however come to ensure that they are organized in a regulated manner.
‘’ The opportunities exist for them to either join existing unions or to form their own entities but their activities must be submitted to the regulations and duly recognized by the participating Assemblies’’ he said.
The SCUTA Boss further used the opportunity to debunk claims that the newly implemented reforms is intended to deprive the transport operators of their legitimate businesses adding that it is rather to create a congenial atmosphere to operate public transportation as seen in other big cities across the world.
He mentioned major cities such as Lagos, Johannesburg, Curitiba in Columbia and London amongst others who having recognized the role transportation plays in developing the economy, have all developed their respective transport sectors through effective regulation.
Government’s objective of improving mobility and public safety by ensuring effective regulation of public transport, investing in mass transportation systems and implementing the Bus Rapid Transport [BRT] in the near future is ongoing and we are looking forward to providing free rides on 1st July 2014 when the first phase of the Amasaman to the Central Business District BRT is completed, he announced.
It would be recalled that certain transport operators raised red flag against the Accra Mayor that the decision to ask them to join existing or form their own Union is illegitimate. The decision is however not the Mayor’s but rather a national policy to ensure sanity in the system and to proper monitor their activities.
The ceremony brought together stakeholders in the public transport services sector such as the GPRTU, PROTOA, and the Cooperative Drivers Union who took rounds to address the press conference and also endorsed the newly implemented reforms.
Also present were the representatives of SCUTA comprising the thirteen Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies [MMDAs] from the Greater Accra Area and Kasoa in the Central Region.