Some members of the public, especially persons with disabilities (PWDs) have questioned the decision by some public and private organisations in the country not to allow taxi cabs to enter into their premises.
A physically challenged man, Mr Gab Norgah told The Mirror on phone that the taxi in which he was travelling to a state establishment was stopped by security officers who claimed that taxi cabs were not allowed in the place.
“When I asked them why, they could not offer any explanation but threatened to clamp the car if the driver disobeyed the order. But after they realised that I was going to see the boss, they walked away and let me in,” he said.
Mr MacWilliams Amankwa Danso, a visually impaired presenter at Eastern FM, Koforidua, also said about a month ago a taxi driver abandoned him in front of the Ministries in Koforidua, while the rain was falling heavily because the driver said his taxi cab would not be allowed to enter into the premises.
“And he also left me in the rain because he said he could not wait with me in the car till the rain stopped for me to walk comfortably to the Ministries”.
Recounting his ordeal at the hands of security officers at institutions that do not allow taxis into their compounds, another visually impaired man, Mr Edward Gyamenah, a former student of the University of Ghana said, “In February last year, while still a student of the University of Ghana, security men stopped a taxi driver from carrying my visually impaired friends and I to our halls though it was dark”.
“It was a good Samaritan in a private car, who offered us a lift to our final destination on campus. At another time, a security officer forced us out of a taxi cab that was conveying us to the lecture hall because he claimed taxis were not allowed in the area around the hall. Even though we explained that we were visually impaired he would not budge”.
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The police have however stated that the order, ‘No Taxis Allowed,’ usually seen written on the gates and walls of some hospitals, educational institutions and many other private and public organisations has no foundation in the country’s Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument/ L.I. 2180) and it indeed infringes on the people’s freedom of movement.
The Officer in Charge of Education at the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police, (DSP) Alex Obeng has said that there is no law that prohibits taxi cabs from entering into public places or the premises of public organisations.
He said the “No taxis allowed” directive given by many organisations in this country to taxi drivers is unfounded and “I encourage people who suffer in any way because of that order to go to court and contest it”.
He asked; “even if there is any law backing that instruction, should the physically challenged suffer? If they feel slighted they should go to court”.
Major Frank Dzamson (retd), the Security Co-ordinator at the Graphic Communications Group Limited, who is also a lawyer stated that he had not come across any law that supports the “No taxis allowed” order issued by many organisations in the country, saying, “It may be because of the attitude of taxi drivers”.
Some, taxi drivers, he said park their vehicles haphazardly, pick passengers who disembark at unathourised points inside the compounds of institutions, so if they are allowed into the premises of organisations, the fear is that they may obstruct the activities of those establishments.
He disagreed with the notion that taxi cabs could easily be used to commit crime in the premises of organisations, saying every vehicle could be employed for the purposes of crime.
Mr Charles Dagadu, a taxi driver said the “No taxis allowed” phenomenon negatively affects their business because passengers who wish to pick one taxi cab and do a number of rounds with it over a period is forced to pick separate taxis after they have been conveyed to each destination.
“We do not get hired for longer periods for us to make more money because of that order,” he added.
Story: William A. Asiedu/The Mirror