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General News of Thursday, 8 November 2018


NDC designed Aayalolo bus service for politics – AMA Boss

The Metropolitan Chief Executive of the Accra (AMA), Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, has said the Quality Bus Service, popularly known as Aayalolo Bus was ostensibly designed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for political purposes.

“When we [NPP] took over, the company was running without a working capital and we were running at a loss. The Ministry of Transport has bailed out the GAPTE for six times and that is a lot of money.

“I remember I have negotiated for 2 million for the Quality Bus System because everything they were doing had no plan and it was just designed for politics…We are where we are because of how they [NDC] designed the programme,” he said on Citi TV’s Current Affairs Programme, The Point of View.

The BRT is a specialized bus-based mass transit system which uses dedicated lanes for fast movement within urban settlements.

The system , which kicked off in 2016 was expected to begin in Accra and subsequently take off in other regions.

Buses operating under the system basically take the Accra to Amasaman, Accra to Ofankor, Accra to Adentan, Accra to Tema and Accra to Kasoa routes.

The BRT System was subsequently renamed the Quality Bus System (QBS) after failing to meet international standards of having specially designed lanes.

The system has been fraught with challenges since its introduction.

On Wednesday, Graphic online reported that over 150 Aayalolo buses had been grounded at the Achimota Bus Terminal in Accra, while another 60 deployed to Kumasi for use are yet to start operations.

It said the buses at the terminal had been grounded because the operators of the buses, the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE), can no longer bear the cost of fuel.

To overcome the challenge, GAPTE, according to Graphic has applied for a bailout from the government to help it pay for the cost of fuel, salaries and other operational costs, but the Ministry of Transport has turned down the request.

Though a former board member of GAPTE, Sam Atukwei Quaye sought to blame the current administration for these challenges, Mr. Sowah dismissed this suggestion, saying the NPP government was not responsible for these challenges.

He was however quick to add that government is “engaging the Transport Ministry to revive the system.

Patronage of the buses was quite high when the service began in 2016, but it started dwindling six months afterwards from the expected 12,000 passengers per day to 9,000.

Patronage on a daily basis currently ranges between 9,000 and 10,000 on the Amasaman-Ofankor-Achimota-Accra Central Business District (CBD) corridor.

Aside the low patronage,drivers of the Aayololo buses have embarked on a series of strike over unpaid salaries.

The drivers recently embarked on a strike weeks after managers of GAPTE sealed a deal to undertake shuttle services at the newly opened terminal 3 of the Kotoka International Airport as well as other terminals at the airport.

Now, on a daily basis, patronage ranges between 9,000 and 10,000 on the Amasaman-Ofankor-Achimota-Accra Central Business District (CBD) corridor.