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30.07.2002 General News

Government orders 100 buses for mass transit programme

By Daily Graphic
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The government has ordered 100 high occupancy buses to support the mass transit programme outlined in the President’s maiden address to Parliament in 2001.

The buses form part of the first consignment of 250 that have been ordered by the government to improve the transport system in the country. The Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, announced this when he opened a four-day West African sub-regional workshop on transportation infrastructure and services development in Accra on Monday.

The workshop, being attended by transportation specialists, engineers and investors from West Africa and the United States, will assist in building knowledge for effective operations of public transportation to ease congestion, improve safety and environmental air quality. Alhaji Mahama said 25 of such buses will be ready in September this year, while plans are advanced to order an additional 150 buses.

He said the buses will be allocated to a restructured OSA Transport Company and the private road transport operators. He announced that the Accra-Tema rail line will undergo rehabilitation to offer shuttle services as part of the mass transit programme.

The Vice-President said the re-introduction of the rail shuttle service between Accra and Nsawam is making a tremendous impact on the movement of the people and added that, “not less than 3,000 citizens benefit daily from this service alone.”

He said the government is exploring avenues to make the mass transport programme sustainable as well as promote activities to enhance political and economic integration in West Africa. He urged the participants to come up with solutions to the problems that may arise out of the implementation of the mass transportation programme in the country and the sub-region.

The Minister for Roads and Transport, Dr Richard W. Anane, described the current transport system in the country as chaotic and explained that it is characterised by congestion in the central business districts of the cities, poor quality services, high rates of road accidents, and poor environmental standards.

He said the Ministry of Roads and Transport and the Federal Transport Administration (FTA) of USA are collaborating to evolve pragmatic strategies and policies to address problems in the sector.

The Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Ghana, Ms Elizabeth Raspolic, said the FTA is assisting with the creation of a technology transfer centre for West Africa to be located in Ghana. She said a transit training institute which will train transport officials in management, operations and maintenance of public transport systems is in the offing.

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