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22.02.2006 Regional News

Taxis Union has no problem with metro mass buses - Trustee

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Ho, Feb. 22, GNA - The Ho Taxi Union and the new Metro Mass Transport buses could operate conveniently from the taxi rank in the Central Market area provided the Ho Municipal Assembly would clear all unauthorized kiosks which have taken over much of the space there, according to union leaders.

Mr Raphael Agbavor, First Trustee of the Ho Taxi Drivers Union, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, debunking speculations that the Metro buses, which were commissioned in Ho on Tuesday, were being obstructed from operating from the central market terminal.

Mr Agbavor e xplained that because the space at the terminal was inadequate, taxis had to squeeze into the little space available, thereby leaving little room for the much bigger buses to operate from there.

He blamed the Ho Municipal Assembly for turning deaf ears to the Union's appeals on several occasions to clear the terminal of unauthorised kiosks and develop it into a befitting lorry terminal. According to Mr Agbavor, the terminal was originally designated as the main taxi rank in town but because of the limited number of taxis until recently, the place was used by the City Express and similar high capacity bus operators.

He said the Union had been occasionally mobilizing to improve the environment there as the Assembly had failed to act on their grievances and so its members felt peeved when the new buses started operating from that point.

"We should have been consulted so that we could agree on modalities regarding how the place would be used by the metro buses", Mr Agbavor said. Rather than feel threatened, Mr Agbavor said the presence of the Metro Buses in the municipality would be to the mutual benefit of the two transport organizations. "When the Metro buses bring in passengers from the outlying communities to town we would be available to take them to their destinations within the town and vice-versa", he explained. When contacted, Mr Emmanuel K, Defor, Ho Municipal Co-ordinating Director acknowledged the complaints of the Taxi Union regarding the limited space and the difficulty in clearing the place of unauthorized kiosks.

Mr Defor said the kiosk owners did not have permits from the Assembly to operate there adding that, "some unscrupulous workers of the Assembly might have misled them to act wrongly". He said the Assembly had given those operating in the kiosks up to the end of February 2006 to remove their structures but they had petitioned the Assembly to give them one more month to enable them relocate.