Traffic Enforcement Taskforce Committee Inaugurated

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has set up a 12-member joint taskforce to regulate traffic activities in the Kumasi Metropolis and the Ejisu Juaben Municipality. The Committee among other things is charged to help bring an end to the rising cases of indiscipline, especially among commercial drivers within the Kumasi Metropolis, and the enforcement of traffic regulations. The composition of the permanent Joint Traffic Task Force (JTTF) is as follows: 3 representatives from the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA�s); 3 representatives from the Police Service; two representatives from the transport operators; and 1 representative each from the Driver Vehicle and Licencing Authority (DVLA), National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and the Department of Urban Roads. Mr. Samuel Sarpong, Metropolitan Chief Executive of Kumasi Metropolis, presenting the policy statement of the Urban Passenger Transport Project (UPTP) pointed out the challenges posed by urban transportation and the efforts by Government to facilitate the free flow of traffic in the major cities of the country; thus the introduction of the Urban Transport Project as part of measures to curb the menace on the roads and challenges within transport sectors. He observed that the cities were constantly faced with many transportation and traffic challenges. Notable among them are the unlawful activities of floating drivers popularly known as �waawaa�, traffic jams in the Central Business Districts and some areas in the Kumasi metropolis, and the alarming rate of indiscipline on roads -- mostly by commercial drivers. Hon. Sarpong again acknowledged the role played by the KMA over the past few years to enforce traffic regulations and decongest the Central Business District, primarily through its Metro Guards and with support from the Police Service, and individual efforts from the DVLA and the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) as far as road safety and traffic regulations are concerned. He mentioned that even though all agencies concerned with road safety regulations are operating within their mandate, a closer look at the system reveals that there have been some lapses. The lack of effective central coordination and monitoring of the quality of transport services and operators, and the free-hand given to transport operators to self regulate based on their own set of values and standards, were noted as some of the lapses identified within the system. It is against this backdrop and many others that the JTTF has been established to help bring sanity on the roads and maintain some standards within the transport sector. The Committee will largely perform the following functions: enforce bye-laws and specific provisions as approved by the Assemblies; advise the Assembly on matters relating to enforcement of transport services in the Assemblies; prohibit or restrict the driving of general or any specific vehicles on specified roads or specific routes and; regulate the use of public vehicles, including the routes and parking places in accordance with the Driver Vehicle and Licencing Authority Act (Act 569). The role of JTTF can thus be broadly categorised under the following key functions: permanent functions; traffic management and control; transport operations; traffic incidence management; public education sensitisation and; prosecution of offenders. It was considered that the establishment of the JTTF is the beginning of a concrete effort to reverse the negative trends of the past, as the combined and well coordinated efforts of all relevant stakeholders would yield better results and improve the transportation situation in a more economic and sustainable manner. It was also announced that the KMA is currently in the process of reviewing its bye-laws, including the ones relevant to the regulation to transport, to provide the requisite foundation for Task Force secretariat. The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who inaugurated the committee, stated that the task force committee has come at the time it is needed most. He advised all commercial drivers to cooperate with the committee by registering with the appropriate union for easy identification. Present at the inauguration ceremony were the KMA CEO Samuel Sarpong; Yamoah Ponkoh, Ejisu�Juaben Municpal Assembly; and MTTU National Commander, ACP Awuni.