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14.04.2005 Business & Finance

Metro Mass Transit Company Faces Stiff Competition

By jfm

One of the major programmes introduced by the Kufuor administration during its first term was the introduction of the mass transit service.

It was government's expectation that the service will offer alternative and reliable means of transportation to alleviate the suffering of workers and the public at large in the wake of the petroleum price increases.

However, it has not been smooth sailing for the past two years the service has been running.

Among problems facing the company are broken down buses, poor road network and overloading of passengers.

The yellow double-decker buses from China are usually filled to capacity during rush hours. Commuters say about by 10 in the morning the bus is half filled.

The interior of the bus, just a few months old, was yet to show the usual signs of wear and tear.

The bus offered a lot of comfort and decency to passengers. Several of the passengers seemed quite satisfied with the services of the Metro Mass Transport popularly referred to as Kufour buses.

This could be based primarily on their affordable flat fare of ¢1000 to any part of the city. Investigations indicate that it wasn't all about the cheap fares.

“ I like the way the conductor behaves towards the passengers and it is more comfortable and spacious unlike the 'trotro', one commuter said.

Nii Okai, the bus driver wakes up at 4am everyday to transport commuters to various stopping points through to the terminal. He plied a regular route of Odorkor- Accra Central for quite a month since he took up the job but his route has been changed to Nungua-Circle route.

One of his biggest headaches, he says, is dealing with mini bus or trotro drivers who see the Kufuor buses as a threat to their survival.

A visit to the offices of Metro Mass Transport Company revealed that the company is owned jointly by government and a group of companies. Inge De Boer works with the communications department of the company says the company is doing fine.

Though conceding the limited fleet of buses that do not meet the transportation needs of the country, Miss de Boer and her colleague, also a Dutch, would not volunteer much information about the operations of the company except to say that new management had a plan to revamp the company's operations.

“ The new management came in at the end of January and we have designed a new strategic direction which the MMT will follow in the coming years. The strategic plans were completed in March and we will soon announce future plans of the MMT throughout the country,” she said.

The company is also expecting the fleet to be beefed up by the Dutch government, which is providing a number of DAF buses to supplement the fleet.

The government announced in this year's budget that a total number of 950 buses of different makes would be purchased for public transport service.

It is the hope of commuters that this pledge will be fulfilled to make their daily journeys less difficult than it is even now under the scorching sun.

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