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11.04.2005 General News

Railways to prosecute commuters who hang on trains

By GNA

Accra, April 11, GNA - The Ministry of Harbours and Railways on Monday ordered the Ghana Railway Company to enforce byelaws that prohibit commuters from hanging on moving trains.

"Rail traffic regulations forbid commuters from hanging on any part of the train while in motion, as it is an offence punishable by either terms of imprisonment, fine or both," Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, the Sector Minister, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra. He explained that such practices endangered the life of the commuters and other passengers on-board.

rampant. People fall off the train and suffer various degrees of injuries. Sometimes, some of these commuters die. In spite of the high rate of injuries some persons and sneak thieves continue to hang on the trains to avoid the payment of fares or as a transit point to sneak in on innocent passengers on board to steal. Some commuters told the GNA that these practices had made rail transport uncomfortable and risky.

Mr Jonathan Sam, General Manager of Ghana Railway Company, said the Company had beefed up security by deploying more Police personnel on board especially in Accra, Kumasi, Tarkwa and Takoradi. He said the Police officers had been empowered to assist to check tickets, search and arrest any suspicious characters, especially, those who hung on the trains.

"We are ready to ensure the safety of our customers; protect life and properties and bring back the luxury of rail transportation," Mr Sam stated.

He said the Ghana Railway Company and the Ghana Police Service had revamped their collaborative and complementary roles. "We have provided them (Police) with office and residential accommodation, pay for utility services and other incentives packages."

These developments are to ensure that the Police Service provided adequate security to both officials and commuters, he said. Mr Sam said the Company had reduced its workforce from 11,000 to 4,000, adding that the reduction in the number of coaches had affected their operations and staff movement.

He said the Company had stopped its sleeper services, suspended services from Accra to Kumasi and Takoradi. "We only operate Accra to Nsawam and this has reduced our work load considerably."

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