We must do things right

BY: Daily Graphic
 Quality Bus System
Quality Bus System

Government undertake social intervention programmes as one of the means to cushion the masses against difficult economic conditions.

Due to the impact of global prices of crude oil and other petroleum products on the cost of transportation in the country, governments, past and present, have always endeavoured to introduce interventions by providing public buses to help the people commute from one place to another at a lower cost, compared with what they would have paid under normal market conditions.

We have seen the Omnibus Services Authority (OSA), the City Express and the Metro Mass Transit, all of which were meant to ease the burden of cost of transportation, collapse.

The recent introduction, the Quality Bus System (QBS), popularly known as Aayalolo, is gradually moving towards that fate. Recently, there was a halt in the operations of Aayalolo as a result of what officials described as technical hitches.

The operator of the buses, the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE), sent text and Whatsapp messages  to its patrons around 3.50 p.m.

 on Thursday, October 25, 2018, saying that its services would not be available in the evening from Tudu in Accra to various locations in the city following the technical hitches.

It promised to inform passengers about the resumption of service when the anomaly had been resolved by its technicians.

But over a week after that, the bus services are yet to resume, leaving passengers frustrated.

For many traders and workers living at Amasaman and its environs who rely on the Accra-Nsawam train to commute to and from the Central Business District before it was shut down, Aayalolo became a reliable substitute, and with the buses grounded temporarily, their journey has become more difficult.

The sudden turn of events regarding the operations of the QBS is unfortunate because of the impact it has on those who relied on it.
It has become obvious, from the Daily Graphic’s observation, that most of these interventions are not well planned before they are executed.

It seems there was no proper due diligence done in terms of having a reliable source of funding to subsidise the operations of the company for the running of the buses before they were procured.

Elsewhere across the world, these services are provided with well-budgeted funds from the taxpayer and they run without any halt in service.

Aside from the buses, the state has also spent a lot of money to create dedicated lanes for the buses but the lanes are used by unauthorised vehicles, thereby obstructing the free flow of service by the operators of the buses.

In places such as Ikeja in Lagos, Nigeria, dedicated bus lanes have been provided and these are policed constantly using CCTV cameras or patrol teams which constantly move around to arrest recalcitrant drivers who use the bus lanes.

In Ghana, the situation is different. The authorities who should know better are the ones who flout the rules and, in the end, others join in, making useless the essence of creating dedicated lanes to ensure the fast movement of the buses.

The Daily Graphic finds it unfortunate that after spending millions of Ghana cedis to acquire these buses, they have been left at the mercy of the weather, while many commuters struggle day and night to find commercial vehicles to get home.

It is our hope that the government will reconsider the model again and ensure that the service is restored in the best interest of the public. We cannot allow the investment made to go waste.

 We should not allow the many men and women who gained employment from the service sit at home without jobs.

Once it works somewhere else, it can work in Ghana, but only if all of us become responsible and ensure that we do what is right.