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Opinions of Saturday, 31 December 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Tarnishing the image of Kumasi Asafo Market V.I.P tour buses

By Rockson Adofo

There are many scarlet-painted huge transport buses with the distinguishing insignia V.I.P marked on their sides that ply the major routes in Ghana, especially, from Kumasi to Accra. Most of these buses have their departure and arrival stations at Kumasi Asafo Market and Accra Circle.

I am compelled to report through placing a publication on the Ghanaian internet news portals to alert the owners and the operators of the buses to the dismal and, or criminal attitudes of some of their employees. Without taking immediate measures to address such concerns which might have been going on since only God knows when, the services of the transport company may suffer bad publicity to culminate in the loss of patronage and revenue to their owners and shareholders.

The last thing any reputable company would like to deal with is bad publicity but in Ghana, where things are not taken seriously with customer service care least bothered about in the usual outrageous mannerism of “Ghana deE Saa”, most companies do not care much about how their customers are treated. However, I have the duty to the passengers and the owners of the V.I.P transport to convey my regrettable observations and experiences to them in case they might find an appropriate way to resolve them before the situation escalates into something pernicious.

When I arrived at the station on 19 December 2016 at 09:20 hours in a chattered taxi, stopping within two to three metres from a loading V.I.P bus, an unknown person opened the back door to remove my luggage from the back seat of the taxi. I immediately questioned what that unsolicited stranger was up to and ordered him to leave my two luggage alone.

He said he works at the V.I.P bus station and that he was helping to move my luggage to the then loading bus. I insisted he stopped as his services were not needed by me. The taxi driver confirmed he knows him and that he works for the V.I.P buses.

When my small and medium-sized luggage were taken to where a V.I.P bus was loading and was almost full, the luggage check-in attendant demanded GHC12.00. I pleaded with him to reduce the price. He insisted I pay the charged fee of GHC12.00.

After much pleading and his unyielding stance that I paid GHC12.00, I told him, Please when I was coming from Accra about a month ago with three luggage, the biggest among which I have left at home in Kumasi, I was charged a total of GHC7.00 at your sister V.I.P station in Accra. Could you therefore please do something about it as the fee you are demanding is comparatively higher?

Just at the mention of the comparison, and out of the blue, he said, “This place is not Accra and it is not abroad. This is Kumasi and you have to pay the price I am demanding”. I asked, what has pleading for reduction of your demanded exorbitant fee has to do with abroad? Have I made mention with anything pertaining to abroad?” He said you people have spoiled Ghana and ran away to overseas. If you had not, why did you Ghanaians choose to go abroad without staying in Ghana, he said?

At his silly and ignorant pronouncements quite unrelated to the issue about the luggage fee, I flipped and as no-nonsense man as I am without taking it kindly to fools, I took him straight to the cleaners. I lambasted him and made it clear to him that it is because of such corrupt and ignorant fools that Ghana has deteriorated to its current state where disrespectfully corrupt, clueless and incompetent leaders are at its helms of affairs.

It was to rescue Ghana and Ghanaians from the current socio-economic doomsday brought upon them by President Mahama and his markedly corrupt NDC government and party that many “burgers” had travelled home from abroad to campaign and vote for a change in government from NDC to NPP.

Many bystanders, passengers and passers-by had to beg me to forgive the man for behaving that stupidly. In the end, he decided to take GHC8.00 for the two luggage. I paid him. However, another more agonising and sillier scenario unfolded.

The man, who removed my two luggage from the taxi, gave me a ticket no.18 for the loading V.I.P bus. He told me the price was GHC40.00 which is the normal on-going fare for boarding those buses. I paid him the money.

After settling with the luggage check-in man as aforesaid, this man asked me for a tip. I questioned to know why and what for? He said because of helping me carry the luggage from the taxi to the bus for a distance of about two to three metres. I gave him GHC1.00. He refused and said he needed GHC5.00. I asked why? He said, “It is for the ticket”. I told him, did you not tell me the ticket fare was GHC40.00 and have I not already given you the GHC40.00? He said yes, but he still needed GHC5.00 for procuring me the ticket.

This is absolute crap. I turned on him and lambasted him from head to toe. Why should the station attendants pass some of the tickets on to people who are indeed ticket touts to inflate the prices to feed their corrupt practices? Why should they be craftily allowed to exploit travellers or public transport passengers?

I believe in principles and would not kowtow to the stupid Ghanaian attitude of always seeking to cheat their fellows thinking they are smarter when they are allowed to get away with that nonsense. GHC5.00 was not much to part with but I will not allow a criminal ticket tout to get away with their silly corrupt practices thinking they are smart to outwit a “burger”.

Again, people had to come to his rescue as he found me not to be his match when it comes to castigating the corrupt Ghanaians who always desire to feed fat on the generosity and ignorance of others thinking they are far more intelligent than their victims.

I moved across to the other side of the same station where another V.I.P bus charging GHC30.00 was loading. They charged me GH8.00 for my luggage and GHC30.00 for my fare to Accra. In less than fourteen minutes, the bus was full and was on the move to Accra. Within five hours, we had arrived in Accra.

Is there any much difference between the V.I.P buses charging GHC40.00 per seat with their probably arranged and conniving ticket touts and those charging GHC30.00 per seat? No!

The only excuse they offer is the GHC40.00 per seat V.I.P bus takes fewer passengers with each passenger having their own seat. This is totally BULLSHIT! On the GHC30.00 per head bus, although it takes about ten more people than the other one, each passenger has their own seat. No two passengers are squeezed into the same single seat nor do we have passengers sitting on the lap of one another while on the bus. Each passenger is allocated their own seat same as it pertains on a passenger airplane.

I strongly suggest that the management of the V.I.P buses get rid of the ticket touts and then retrain their luggage check-in attendants and other transport staff in customer services. They should not talk anyhow and treat people anyhow in their usual Ghanaian typical-minded “Ghana deE saa” paralogism (argument violating principles of valid reasoning).

Stay tuned for more info from Rockson Adofo, the proud son of Kumawu and Asiampa (Juaben), the proponent and defender of the causes that will make Ghana a great and prosperous nation to live in. Whosoever will may drink freely from my overflowing fountain of wisdom.

Sorry, I am feeling very sleepy. I can’t help it anymore so I am off to bed.