Four transport operators in Accra have complied with the directive from the Ministry of Transport to have all their long distance travelling vehicles fitted with emergency doors or exits.
The four operators comprise; the VIP Jeoun Transport Limited, OA Travel and Tour, VVIP Transport Limited and the State Transport Corporation (STC).
The Daily Graphic visited the bus terminals of the transport operators and noticed that majority of the buses at the terminals of the transport companies had emergency doors.
Buses travelling to places such as Kumasi, Wa, Bolgatanga, Sunyani, Berekum, Nandom, Sampa and Drobo among other destinations all had emergency doors.
In March, this year, the Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, gave transport operators a three-week ultimatum to have their commercial buses travelling long distances fitted with emergency doors.
He gave the directive after meeting with transport operators and drivers in Accra on Friday, March 29 to discuss ways of reducing road accidents and to promote safety on the road.
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The move is part of efforts by the ministry and stakeholders to adhere to the law governing public transport and to reduce road accidents.
Out of about 200 buses counted at the four bus terminals around 11:30 a.m. last Monday morning, about 80 per cent of the buses present had emergency doors.
Those that did not yet have emergency doors had a glass breaker installed in the buses to aid passengers escape through the windows should any unfortunate incident occur.
The bus operators explained that they were working to provide emergency doors or exit doors for their buses that did not have.
In an interview with the Managing Director of VIP Jeoun Transport Company Limited, Mr Ernest Frimpong Manso, he said work was still ongoing to fix emergency doors on the company’s buses that did not have them.
“Prior to the ministry’s directive, the management of VIP Jeoun Transport Company Limited had directed all its directors and owners of vehicles to ensure that all their coaches had emergency doors by May 1,” he said.
A source from OA Travel and Tours also told the Daily Graphic that they were putting measures in place to prioritise the safety of passengers while adhering to the directive from the ministry.
In addition, he said, the company was making plans to have all their long distance travelling buses have two drivers on board.
In an earlier discussion, the Daily Graphic had with the Minister of Transport, he commended the transport operating companies for the efforts they were making and encouraged other transport operators to follow suit.
Meanwhile, some passengers who spoke to the Daily Graphic said even though transport operators were doing their best to prioritise the safety of passengers a priority, they urged the operators to consider providing washrooms on their buses.
Ms Gloria Nyarko, a traveller said, “in recent times traveling is not as hectic as in the past”.
“My only problem with the transport companies is that the money they demand to put ones luggage on board is excessive and sometimes are even more than the transport fares,” she said.
Another passenger, Mr Kwame Gyasi said, “some drivers with the prominent bus companies drive well these days”.
“There are a few recalcitrant ones, however, who still drive tired and recklessly and it is hoped that the relevant authorities would catch up with them and deal with them,” he said.
Another passenger, Mr Edmund Opoku, encouraged bus operators to maintain their buses regularly, adding that lack of maintenance was a contributor to the breakdown of buses, especially at night.
Drivers the Daily Graphic spoke to, on the other hand, were not happy with the scarcity of rest stops on their journey routes, disrespect from passengers, the preponderance of single lane roads instead of dual-carriages and the activities of armed robbers.
They have, under the circumstances, urged authorities in the roads and transport sector to expedite action in addressing the concerns.