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05.06.2006 Business & Finance

Killing My People

By C. S. Buabeng

It is sad that drivers in our company, Ghana Incorporated (Ghana Inc.), are killing innocent members of staff.

In the middle part of our company premises alone, 67 members of staff of Ghana Inc. who travelled on 207 Mercedes Benz buses died in the first five months of this year, in accidents involving 92 of the buses. Certainly, this gives room for concern.

It is a fact that our public transportation system is defective and so we appreciate whatever contribution the private sector makes to complement the efforts of public transport.

Consequently, it becomes difficult when events demand that vital decisions should be taken to reject any mode of transport.

Nevertheless, it is the lives of the passengers and sometimes, the drivers themselves, that are involved and so it must be looked at dispassionately.

Some few years back, Urvan buses became the topic for discussion because the general public became alarmed at the rate at which members of staff were dying through accidents involving Urvan buses.

In an effort to reduce the incidence of accidents, the travelling distance of the Urvan buses was reduced and indeed, it has reduced the accidents involving urvan buses considerably.

Now it is known that the 207 buses were designed for haulage of light packages and not manufactured to be used as passenger vehicles.

However, with the ingenuity of the Ghanaian and especially that of our skilled artisans, these commuter vehicles have been converted into passenger buses.

Investigations have revealed that usually, the owners of 207 buses, which travel over long distances do not tamper with their back brakes, unlike those who ply over a short distance.

It is said that they see the servicing of the back brakes as time consuming and so prefer to “condemn” them.

Vehicle owners should be able to prevail on their drivers to do the right thing to save the lives of passengers.

Again, it is important that the artisans of our company, whose dexterity is acknowledged, establish links with our training schools, especially the big one at the headquarters in the middle part of our company's premises.

Surely such collaborative effort would have made those who make the alterations on the vehicles aware that stability is critical with regard to the safety of the vehicle.

In addition, they would have realised that tampering with the back brakes would disturb the stability of the vehicle.
Apart from the brakes, those who use the vehicle say that the back seat of the bus should be removed.

The reason? Members of staff, who use them are bound to suffer because passengers on the last seat and the ones before it are so crammed that when an accident occurs, the chances of their survival is very slim.

Yes, we want to improve on the transport system in the company to ease the plight of our members of staff.

It is also important that our artisans, car owners and drivers think about the lives of the members of staff they render service to.

It may be necessary to gradually withdraw the vehicles and rectify the anomaly before they are put on the road again. They should stop killing my people!