As of 2015 eight out of every 100 persons in Accra used motorcycles (okada) as a mode of public transport although that mode of transportation was unknown in 2005, a consultant of the World Bank, Mr Ajay Kumar, has said.
According to Mr Kumar mini buses (trotro) were still the most used means, although it had fallen from 70 per cent in 2005 to 57 per cent in 2015.
He said the use of regular buses as a means of transport in Accra only constituted 10 per cent of the modal share of public transport in 2015, while other means of transportation which was at 30 per cent in 2005 reduced to 25 per cent in 2015.
Mr Kumar disclosed these on Friday during a presentation at a workshop organised by the World Bank in collaboration with the ministries of Transport and Local Government and Rural Development to find solutions to the traffic congestion in the capital city, Accra.
Speaking on the topic “Accra Urban Transport; Status and Prospects”, Mr Kumar said that while the human population in Accra in 1990 was two million and was headed to six million by 2025, the vehicular population which was about 20,000 in 1990 increased to 250,000 in 2015 and was headed to 400,000 by 2025.
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That he said, called for appropriate measures to be taken to address traffic congestion in the cities.
According to Mr Kumar, urban transportation referred to productivity, health, affordability and gridlock and called for a paradigm shift and focus.
“It is not about roads, it’s not about bridges, it’s not about railways, and it is not about traffic signals. It is about productivity,” he stated.
He, therefore, asked for a rethinking on urban transport, saying it required thinking holistically, focusing on demand and supply, making use of the structures already in place other than creating new ones, making planning objective and moving people and goods efficiently and in a sustainable way.
Mr Kumar nonetheless, listed some achievements that had been made with the first Accra Urban Transport project such as policy regulation, institutional development, traffic engineering, management and safety and development of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT).
He noted other key achievements made in Accra’s urban transport as the creation of awareness among key stakeholders, the establishment of legal and institutional framework for bus regulation, establishment of the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE) and recognition that change was possible but took time.
Cautioning that the problems of traffic congestion were getting worse, he said unless they were addressed comprehensibly they will make city life unbearable and unlivable. “We need to build on past successes and capture gains, he told the stakeholders from various transport outfits.
Earlier in his welcome address, the deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah spoke of his ordeal in traffic as he drove to the workshop venue, warning “It will get to a point that we cannot move if we don’t address the issue of traffic congestion.”
Telling transport owners that they had a key role to play in urban transport and mobility, he urged a focus on solutions as many people knew the challenges. “We are ready to collaborate, reach consensus and move this thing forward,” he assured.
During discussions participants pointed out the hydra-headed causes of congestion in the city of Accra such as the unavailability of more space to widen roads and the increase in the number of private cars and mini buses and few big buses.