The country is set to begin operating the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Accra in November this year. The new transport system is to improve vehicular movement and reduce delays on some busy streets and, as it were, bring relief to motorists.
Ten special buses that will ply dedicated streets to ensure fast movement within the metropolis are already in the country for a test run. Following a successful test run of the system and the training of operators, 85 more buses will be brought in.
The Achimota-Accra, Amasaman-Accra and Ofankor-Accra have been selected as routes for the first phase of the BRT system.
Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuiye, the Chief Executive Officer for the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA), who is also the chairman of the Greater Accra Transport Executive (GAPTE) Committee, the organisation responsible for the implementation of the public bus-based mass transport system, made the disclosure at Amasaman, where one of the buses to be used for the test run was unveiled.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, and her deputy, Mrs Joyce Bawah Mogtari.
In an address to a gathering of schoolchildren, market women and other residents of Amasaman, he said work on infrastructure, including the construction of bus terminals and express lanes, was almost complete.
He said the Achimota terminal, for instance, was being remodelled as a holding area for the buses where maintenance works could be done on them and added that the station would also double as a fuel bay. Meanwhile, a number of bus stops on the route are being built.
Sealing revenue leakages
Dr Vanderpuiye indicated that the second phase of the BRT system would take place on the Adentan-Accra-Kasoa road corridor and on the Tema-Prampram.
He said to ensure effectiveness of the system, it would strictly be bound by time.
The chairman of GAPTE said on the days of the test runs, police personnel on motorcycle would go ahead of the buses to ensure that they moved without hindrance.
The BRT system, he said, would complement the operations of the Metro Mass Transit Company.
Mrs Attivor said the BRT transportation system in Ghana would follow examples from other countries. It would be run on a cashless system. One would have to purchase a ticket before boarding. That, she said, would remove revenue leakages. She said private enterprises would operate the new bus transport system.
According to her, the system will also make use of technology such that the mobile phone platform could also be used to purchase a ticket.
Mrs Attivor said such a system was crucial to national development as it would reduce delays and enhance productivity.
The Minister of Transport said the buses were disability friendly and could be easily boarded by the physically challenged.
The BRT is under the Urban Transport Project (UTP) of the Ministry of Roads and Highways. It is jointly funded by the World Bank, the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), the government of Ghana and the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund at a cost of $95 million and is being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Roads and Highways and the Department of Urban Roads.
Processes towards the implementation of the BRT were started in 2007. Between 2008 and 2009, it faced many difficulties, key among them being stiff resistance from private transport operators.
Early on, the Department of Urban Roads had planned implementing an advanced type of BRT on the Accra-Mallam-Kasoa corridor. This move resulted in the construction of a flyover across the railway line on the Graphic Road in Accra. That project has been shelved for now because of inadequate funding.
Source: Daily Graphic
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