Management of the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) has since September last year dismissed over 400 of its staff, especially the bus conductors, for various offences, especially theft.
Management of the MMT said it had noticed that a lot of malpractices were going on in the issuing of tickets to passengers by the bus conductors and therefore investigated the matter and those found guilty were dismissed to serve as a deterrent to others.
Mr. Hens Visschers, Managing Director, told newsmen in Tamale on Thursday that most of the stealing occurred during the early hours of the morning or late in the evenings and therefore called on the travelling public to always insist on their tickets.
He said the company had employed 75 bus inspectors to monitor the activities of the bus conductors and the drivers throughout the country and had also engaged the services of “mystery guest” or undercover agents to help put an end to the stealing.
Mr. Visschers said the MMT had provided direct employment to about 2,803 persons and that with the delivery of more buses in sight the company expected to increase the number to over 3,548 workers.
He said the total number of buses in operation as at September was 599, representing 60.5 per cent of the total fleet while 391 representing 39.5 per cent were not operational.
The Managing Director said the MMT had carried an average of 2.2 million people a month on its routes across the country over a total distance of 25,971,189 million kilometres within the first half of the year.
Within the same period, he said the company also carried a total of 992,947 school children on its “free ride” service.
Mr. Visschers said with the support of the Ministry of Transportation, efforts were under way to provide comfortable waiting facilities at the various bus terminals across the country.
Mr. Visschers said a rural-urban service division had been created with the arrival of 90 TATA buses and 163 Jonckheere commuter buses, which would serve rural communities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
He said feasibility studies were on-going at Denu in the Volta Region and Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region to run a rural-urban service and the company had acquired land near the Aboabo Market for a new bus terminal for Tamale.
On the way forward, the Managing Director said the MMT would set up an efficient public transport system with an integrated network of scheduled buses linking residential areas, business districts, central bus terminals, suburbs and villages.
He said to ensure a reliable, efficient and effective transit system MMT would continually renew its fleet with the acquisition of new buses while non-operational ones would be disposed of.
Mr. Visschers expressed optimism that Ghana could be a forerunner in Africa in the provision of bus infrastructure with frequent bus service, saying: “Free bus lines are a dream of every commuter, the police and ambulance and fire services”.