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12.03.2007 General News

Kufuor’s buses in danger

By myjoyonline

The Independent newspaper says Ghana's only public transport system might collapse just as its forerunners (City Express and Omnibus Service Authority) went to ground if Government fails to halt the company's dwindling fortunes.

Government owns 45 percent of the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) which, according to the newspaper employs 3,000 workers with a fleet of 500 buses.

The cause of the dwindling fortunes, according to the paper, is managerial inefficiency and 'massive siphoning of fuel and ticket racketeering.'

The lot are said to be 'the same old mistakes that led to the eventual collapse of City Express and OSA.'

The paper said about 90 of the buses, imported from China have for some months been grounded, and quoting the MMT's Communication Officer, Washington Numerkor the 90 buses are parked in the company's yard “because they have outlived their lifespan of three years.”

“According to him, the conventional practice in the public transport industry is that whenever the buses involved reached their lifespan, the only option is to park them and procure new ones. He also indicated that the lifespan of the DAF or Neoplan buses is five years”, the paper reported.

The company, he said was in the process of procuring new buses to replenish the stock.

The Independent said over 350 staff of the company were sacked last year for various acts of indiscipline, fuel siphoning and ticket racketeering that are currently choking the company.

The paper reported that an employee of the company who was arrested on November 18, 2006 while attempting to steal gallons of fuel is still walking free.

“The action of these unscrupulous conductors, stealing of bus spare parts by some engineers and non use of the 90 buses have contributed to the decline of the daily returns of MMT from over ¢300 million to ¢100 million.”

The paper said the MMT seriously disputed the figures but failed to state what it thought was the actual situation with the excuse that it was still compiling the figures.