A public forum on a draft urban passenger transport regulation bye-law aimed at assisting Assemblies to effectively regulate public transport has been held in Accra.
The basis of the new bye-law is derived from the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462, which charges the Assemblies with the responsibility of regulating urban passenger transportation services.
In this bye-law, unless the context otherwise requires, urban passenger transport services is deemed to be any offer or passenger transport for collective use, along fixed or recognisable route, using motorised means of transport. This includes services operated by bus, minibus, minivan, lorry, shared taxi or other shared car.
However, it does include private hires, works and schools transport not available to the general public, or intercity passenger transport services.
Explaining the draft bye-law at a workshop organised by the Department of Urban Roads in Accra, Frank Nikoi, Project Co-ordinator of the Ga West Municipal Assembly, disclosed that under the draft bye-law, all urban passenger transport services within the Assembly's jurisdiction require a permit for urban passenger transport service.
The permit may be issued on application by interested parties, subject to the procedures and eligibility criteria approved by the Assembly. The operational permits shall include a route operational permit A and B, he added.
According to him, a type A permit shall be issued for a period not exceeding 12 months, renewable at the discretion of the Assembly subject to satisfactory performance. A type B permit shall be issued for a period not exceeding 3 years, renewable at the discretion of the Assembly to satisfactory performance.
He said a type B permit shall only be issued to operators who can comply with published standards of service and operational capability, and is intended for services of higher standard. The Assembly shall define and enforce the level of protection against encroachment for type B permit routes.
Mr Nikoi further pointed out that the Assembly may enter into a Contract with an operator or group of operators to provide specified services along specified routes. All other non-contract operators will be excluded from operating on specified routes. The Assembly may enter into a contract with one or more companies for the management of the terminals.
Another feature of the bye-laws is the establishment and functions of the urban passenger transport unit. The body will regulate, establish and implement guidelines and procedures for operation of urban transport services within its jurisdiction. The unit will monitor and enforce the rules of the permit, and recommend to the Chief Executive the approval of permits.
According to him, the Assembly under the draft bye-law shall prepare and approve a public transport plan for part or all of its area of jurisdiction. It shall identify specific urban passenger transport related services and facilities to be implemented over the period of the plan.
These may include but are not restricted to: service types, routes, passenger facilities, terminals, parking areas, stopping places and associated facilities, ticketing, information and other customer support services, and service quality targets.
Other components of the draft bye-law include registration and other fees, regulation of urban passenger transport services, setting of fares, financial support, offences and penalties, and power of Assembly to refer offence to the court.
It is projected that all the Assemblies will pass the draft bye-laws in June, 2008.