Today can report that a number of broken down buses belonging to the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT) at its various depots across the country have been left at the mercy of the weather.
Today’s sources at the various yards/depots in some parts of the country showed that more than 667 vehicles, including the famous yellow-coloured ones nicknamed “Kufuor Buses” have been abandoned to rot at its car depots.
The abandoned vehicles, this paper observed, were Layland, Ashok and DAF, including a variety of Tata buses.
What makes the situation worrying, Today gathered, was that some of these vehicles were registered in 2008, 2012 and 2014 with little damages on the bumpers and windscreens.
But these buses which were purchased at very expensive prices from German, The Netherlands and China some years ago, Today can confirm, would soon be auctioned as scraps to the public.
And out of the above broken vehicles, Today uncovered that one hundred and fifty-five (155) were parked in the yard of the MMT headquarters in Accra.
Similarly, quite a number of the broken down buses had also been parked at MMT depots in Ho, Agona-Swedru, Tamale, Kumasi, Sunyani, Bolgatanga, Techiman awaiting auctioning.
That development, the sources told Today, has had effects on the day-to-day operations of the company, as it has rendered most of the drivers and conductors redundant as they virtually do nothing when they go to work.
“We always go to work but our transport officers tell us that there are no buses and as result we are compelled to sit down from morning 5.30 A.M., to 4:00 P.M., in the evening.”
“…but anytime we absent ourselves from work, our officers will threaten to sack us or sometimes give us query letters. Oh! President John Dramani Mahama try and do something quick about this situation because this worrying situation is making us feel uncomfortable working with MMT,” some concerned drivers and conductors at the headquarters told Today.
Mincing no words, the obviously worried drivers and conductors of MMT called on the government through the Minister of Transport, Mrs. Dzifa Ativor, to, as a matter of urgency, set up a committee to investigate the matter.
Today’s investigation further revealed that the management of MMT sold some of the unserviceable Chinese yellow buses imported by the then New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration in 2008, to the Health Ministry in 2012 after it became clear that the high-priced buses could not be repaired.
According to a deep throat source close to the MMT, it was the ministry of health however, that made a request to buy the grounded vehicles for the makeshift medical centres for some deprived areas in the country, under its Community Health Initiative Programme (CHIP).
The unserviceable yellow vehicles which were imported into the country during tenure of the former Minister of Roads and Transport, Dr. Richard Winfred Anane, interestingly the manual for the servicing of the busesToday learnt, was written in Chinese language in total disregard of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) regulations on importation of products into the country.
This paper established that the manuals generated a lot of controversies over the servicing of the vehicles as the MMT engineers could not read Chinese language.
That, according to engineers of MMT, was a moment of great relief for them when the ministry of health requested to purchase the vehicles even at knockdown prices for medical centres.
The Chinese buses were the second buses to be written off by MMT.
The first was some Italian buses which were acquired by the erstwhile Kufuor administration at very expensive prices.
These buses turned out to be a discarded fleet, written off by the European Union (EU). There were no spare parts for the poorly-ventilated buses as the manufacturers had diverted into other businesses.
But in an interview with Today, the Manager in-charge of Traffic Operations of MMT, Mr. Frank Yeboah Koranteng, rubbished the claims that his outfit has abandoned the vehicles to rot at its various depots across the country.
According to him, majority of the buses of the company were functioning while the few ones which have little problems were under repairs, saying “we have not abandoned them to rot.”
He, therefore, invited this reporter to come to their headquarters to verify for himself.
Earlier, when Today contacted the Public Relations Officer of MMT, Ms. Bernice Akologo, via telephone on Monday, March 23, 2015, she also denied the allegation, but was quick to add, “l am going to find out from the management and get back to you (referring to this reporter) in the afternoon.”
However, the PRO did not call back as she promised. And several efforts made by this reporter to seek further clarification from her proved futile as she kept telling our reporter that: “I am busy and always at a meeting.”
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