Since a bad practice in one place in Ghana, or at one lorry station, could possibly be in replication elsewhere, all V.I.P. coaches in Ghana must take notice of this publication.
On Friday, 17 February 2023, a luggage check-in handler at Accra Circle station checked-in the luggage of passengers boarding coach registration number GC 7417 -15 at around 11:30 to 12 noon.
This is how it all happened. He charged every passenger checking in their luggage a fee. The fee collected depended on the sizes and number of the luggage the passenger was carrying, thus, checking in.
When this medium-build man of seeming blood-shot eye charged and checked in your luggage, he would ask you to hand the money to another man standing by him. He then issued you a slip bearing your seat number with the number of luggage checked in stated on the slip.
If you checked in one or two or three luggage, the exact number checked-in will be stated on the slip handed to you.
An adhesive slip bearing your seat number will be attached to each of your checked-in luggage in that matter.
The said vehicle moved out of the Accra Circle V.I.P coach station when full with all the passengers seated and the luggage holder closed.
It headed towards Kumasi, once the proud garden city of Ghana.
The coach stopped at Linda Dor, a designated popular spot on the Accra-Kumasi road for the passengers to refresh themselves; get themselves something to eat, drink or use the washrooms.
Hardly had the coach moved out of the compound of Linda Dor, when it developed a mechanical fault. It broke down.
All the passengers had to evacuate the coach with their luggage, stand by the road side to be assisted by the coach driver to flag down both V.I.P coaches and other passenger buses heading down towards Kumasi.
Such flagged down buses would pick up one or two passengers depending on the availability of vacant seats on the bus.
The driver agreed to refund only Ghs40.00 to each passenger out of the Ghs100.00 fare taken, although some passengers were insisting on collecting Ghs50.00.
From Accra to Linda Dor is about a third of the total mileage from Accra to Kumasi.
A passenger asked the driver to refund him part of the luggage fee. He told the driver he paid Ghs100.00 for his four luggage hence needed part of the money back to pay for the continuation of his journey to Kumasi.
The driver requested the passenger to see the mate as the luggage fees go directly to the mate.
When the mate was approached to refund part of the money, he said the luggage check-in handler only handed him Ghs120.00 for all the luggage of the passengers on board the coach.
Another passenger pointed to her number of luggage and said she also paid Ghs80.00.
The mate was shocked, then ran to the driver and said, look, this woman is saying she also paid Ghs80.00, however, l was only given Ghs120.00 for all the luggage checked-in.
It meant he was even given Ghs60.00 less than what two passengers paid.
Where was the money collected from the other many passengers when they checked in their luggage?
All such money collected had been kept for the personal use of the check-in handlers and their accomplices at the expense of the coach owners, drivers and mates.
I will conclude by suggesting as following:
1. The misfortune of the breakdown of the coach has exposed the likely endemic theft in practice by the luggage check-in staff at the V.I.P coach stations.
2. Receipts are to be given to passengers stating the amount of money paid for their luggage. This will certainly help to reduce the level of stealing by the luggage check-in staff at the stations.
3. When a passenger loses their checked in luggage, the driver, mate or the coach owner will have to pay for it. If yes, why should the luggage check-in staff be unknowingly allowed to keep the lion's share of the fees so collected?
4. The mates should be those directly collecting and handling the money once the luggage check-in staff agree with the passenger on the fee to pay.
From the look of things, those checking in the luggage are making more money a day than even the owners of the vehicles, l am afraid.
Sunday, 26 February 2024