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Opinions of Thursday, 17 March 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Drivers working for public safety in Ghana

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Owing to security risks in the West Africa Sub Region, some drivers especially in the private commercial sector have now employed a novelty meant to ensure safety on our roads especially during long journeys.
Most of the drivers particularly along the northern routes today begin their journeys praying together with the passengers exhorting them to be God fearing and show love and concern to fellow men. They do advise passengers not to steal cash and items from fellow passengers and encourage passengers in possession of bags and phones to carry them along as they move in and out of the vehicles to urinate or to buy food. They also do warn passengers to desist from linking with armed robbers and terrorists to rob passengers on board buses at gun points saying that is not good. The efforts of the drivers have so far yielded fruits to the extent that many people I spoke to say they deserve commendation and support.
Public transport has proved to be very important in the country’s socio economic development, having served Workers, traders, including market mammies and students in their daily movements. Of all the vehicles involved, the long distance buses with inscriptions such as VIP, VVIP and OA are very prominent. Most of these vehicles ply long distances to towns and cities like Kumasi, tamale, Wa, Bawku, Takoradi, Ho among others. The buses, most of which are painted in red and white colors, are quite beautiful and are fast becoming attractive to tourists and regular travelers. Having traveled on them for a long while now, the vehicles have proved to be among the safest, affordable, comfortable and fastest means of moving from one part of the country to the other just like the operations of the State transport company STC in the previous years. The drivers are well trained to know the art of interacting with the people generally. The good performance of the vehicles is largely due to the careful handling of the vehicles by their crews led by the drivers. If the way the drivers comport themselves in the bus stations and on the roads is anything to go by then the operators of the vehicles will go a long way to promote safety on our roads. In traveling on the buses I saw the drivers as men of God and psychologists or advisors. The few drivers who drove me to the northern Ghana have all taken upon themselves to offer prayers together with the passengers for God to protect them to be able to travel safely to their destinations. After the prayers the drivers do offer security tips to all the passengers warning all those with ill motives to desist from attempting to steal items on the bus or collude with criminals to attack the passengers on board the vehicles. Incidentally all the buses on which I travel did reach their destinations safely after stopping briefly at vantage points for the passengers to freshen up eat or visit the washrooms.

Almost all passengers who travel on the vehicle are often full of praise for the owners and operators of the vehicles which are said to fill the void left by the STC of old. Apart from the safety of the vehicles, management of the buses have also introduced the showing of interesting and educative Ghanaian, Nigerian and sometimes Indian video clips that keep passengers in “happy moods” throughout their journeys. This is a step in the right direction as it makes it easy for the passengers to enjoy themselves while traveling on long distances. While commending the management and operators of the vehicles the management of the buses they must consider incorporating the promotion of tourism in the vehicles by employing the right personnel to get passenger especially the first timers to know the names of towns along the roads and to some extent some interesting stories about those towns and villages. This method has two benefits that include helping people especially first time visitors an tourists to know Ghana better and also alert those wanting to alight along the routes to do so without difficulties.

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