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Online drivers decline trips to Teshie for fear of robbery

BY: By Mabel Ayi-Annum
Drivers for Uber, Bolt and Yango, for instance, cancel such trips due to theft and robbery attacks in those areas.

Some online drivers are not accepting  trips  to Teshie and its environs in Accra at night recently  to avoid being victims of robbery.

Some of them have been victims while others have heard of such cases from their colleagues and are therefore being cautious.
Drivers for Uber, Bolt and Yango, for instance, cancel such trips due to theft and robbery attacks in those areas.

In an interaction with some of these drivers, they complained about how they or their colleagues were attacked frequently at the Teshie Township close to the seaside. This has made Teshie a “no-go-zone” at night.

This act by the drivers infuriates some passengers who do not understand the motive behind the decision by the drivers. Residents are getting extremely frustrated in their attempts to get rides back home at night.
Speaking to The Mirror in an interview last Monday, a driver who has been in business for about four years, Kobina Gyamfi, said, “We cannot risk driving to Teshie, especially the Teshie Township at night. We are scared of losing our valuables.”

According to him, “in as much as online cars have brought numerous benefits such as comfort, privacy and convenience, certain bad people in areas like Teshie have taken advantage of this system for activities which put drivers and passengers lives in danger.”

He explained that online drivers usually go through a rigid inspection and investigation process, including police record verification, before they are offered the contract to drive.

A Bolt driver, Isaac Yiadom, complained that “the app has been designed in such a way that we do not know where the riders are going. Anytime there is a request that comes to us, we only get to know where the ride has been ordered after starting the trip. First of all, how can I go and pick someone without knowing where he or she is going?”
He indicated that this was totally unfair to drivers who found themselves in unfriendly areas like Teshie.

A victim, Maxwell Sarpong, who was attacked around the Tsuibleoo- Anumantu stretch shared his experience with this reporter.
He said “I dropped someone off at Teshie around 10 p.m and received another request. It was a lady who directed me to where she was. The route to the destination was isolated but I was not afraid just because it was a lady. Upon arrival, it was rather a gentleman who entered and sat by me in the front seat. Immediately when I was about to start the trip, he snatched my phone and ran through the scattered buildings.”

Another online driver, Stephen Fiagbe, said: “Currently, some of these thieves carry out their operations in pairs with one trying to engage the driver to distract him and the other stealing his phone. Some snatch our cars, phones and money,” he said.

In a chat with one of the residents, Frances Adjei, he??? explained how challenging it was to get a ride back home after 8 p.m. She??? said: “When I order a ride, the drivers call to find out my location and after realising that it is Teshie, the trip is cancelled.”
“In cases where the drivers do not hear the location properly over the phone, it is cancelled after confirmation. In one night, I can order for a ride about 20 times before I finally get one home, probably out of pity,” she added.

An Assemblyman in the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly, Jonathan Anyetei Sowah, last Wednesday said he was aware of the situation and had formed a watchdog team that operated in the area from midnight to 4 a.m.

“The police and I, at the divisional level, are putting in measures to bring this issue to an end. Through public education, the drivers and residents can be well informed on how to avoid these frequent attacks,” he said.

The Teshie District Police Commander, DSP Ransford Nsiah, stated last Wednesday that there were seven key areas often affected and mentioned them as Lascala, Aduemli, Mobile, Abotsianya, Mangoase, Mamli and Salem park all in Teshie.

He also said that most cases were recorded over the weekend between 10 p.m and 4 a.m and the culprits were mostly “ghetto boys”.
Touching on the efforts by the police to fight the crime, he said so far 20 culprits had been jailed and others had signed a code of conduct to be of good behaviour with the court. Also, the police had been embarking on constant patrols at night to maintain order.

The Divisional and District Police Commanders, he said, had written a letter to the Bolt head office in South Africa and their office in Ghana counting on their cooperation in solving the problem.

He suggested that the information of such criminals on the app should be given to the police for further investigations and encouraged members of the community to join the police in fighting crimes by reporting such suspected criminals.