The absence of a clear-cut public transport policy is adversely affecting private sector businesses as employees report for duty ?late, tired and cannot give of their best?, Mr. Alex Frimpong, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Employers Association (GEA), has said.
Accra and Kumasi remain the two most populous cities in the country. Accra has a population of just under five-million, and an estimated 1.5 million people commute to and from the city on a daily basis for business.
?If the road transport network does not facilitate the movement of employees to and from work, the employer has no control over it; but ultimately this affects the movement of its employees to and from work. [Employees] come to work tired, they cannot give of their best, and it can compromise their health and safety.
?There is a need for government to give a clear policy direction on how to handle urban transport. The private operators have done their best to keep public transport going, but I think going forward we cannot continue to rely on them for developmental purposes. In the absence of a tram or well-networked and developed rail system, we should begin to look at how we can get bigger buses to reduce the vehicles on the roads [in Accra] for now.?
Many employers, according to Mr. Frimpong, are now are compelled to provide car loans to facilitate the movement of their employees.
This in recent times has led to an increase in the vehicle population of the capital, causing dreadful vehicular traffic during the rush-hour mornings and evenings.
Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) data show that the number of cars on the country?s roads increased by nearly 23 percent last year. The DVLA said it registered 174,234 new vehicles and inspected about 946,284 vehicles for road-worthiness, bringing the total vehicle population in the country to nearly a million, with concentration in Accra and Kumasi.
Mr. Frimpong believes that to address the situation, ?Some bold decisions need to be taken. In the interim, we should consider introducing larger buses; buses that can take up to about 100 people at a time for starters. If you have large buses, it will reduce the number of vehicles bringing passengers to and from Accra.?
There is also the problem of delay in completing major roads in the capital, which causes unnecessary traffic jams.
A few years ago, there was talk of creating a dedicated bus lane for the eventual operation of an efficient public transport system. However, that noble idea has not seen the light of day. The Metro Mass Transit Company since its establishment has helped to solve some of the commuting challenges in the capital — but it?s just a small part of the solution.