Although prudent management might have sustained the operation of the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT) since its inception, ticket racketeering is now eating deeply into the revenue realization of the state transport company.
The MMT?s Head of Communications, Mr. E. Boadi-Misa, disclosed in an interview with Today that ticket racketeering has been a major bane of the company.
?Although prudent management has made MMT the safest in the country, ticket racketeering has become a major challenge to the company for a decade now,? he affirmed.
According to him, ?if the ticket racketeering continues, the company might be compelled to introduce electronic ticketing machine.?
He however noted that the MMT has delayed the introduction of the electronic ticketing machine, because ?it would force 2,000 MMT bus conductors out of business.?
He said although the company is yet to estimate the amount of money it loses through ticket racketeering, he simply knew it is a lot. ?If you are supposed to bring GH?100.00 daily and you instead bring GH? 80.00, it is a loss to the company,? Mr. Boadi-Misa said.
According to him, knowing the loss of revenue the ticket malpractice could cause, the MMT introduced ?Operation Insist on Your Ticket policy in 2009, which has been very effective.?
He said the company also introduced ?mystery guests? on board the buses who take records of ticketing and?MMT inspectors? at various check points on the routes to check tickets of passengers on board.
Mr. Boadi-Misa indicated that the MMT has instituted those measures to curb the nefarious activities of ticket racketeers, but the canker still persists.
He acknowledged the existence of some people who print fake MMT bus tickets.
He cited an example of ticket racketeers at Techiman, BrongAhafo Region, who were recently exposed by an MMT inspector.
He also disclosed that there are other tickets racketeering syndicates whose operations are yet to be discovered, especially in Accra.
?Disciplinary measures are applied to MMT workers who are caught in ticket racketeering? and we have instituted our own mechanism to flush out those who engage in the nefarious act,? he said.
For MMT staff, such punitive measures include warning, refund of the money stolen, interdiction, while serious cases are being referred to the police for investigations, he revealed.
Mr. Boadi-Misafurther urged the public to report such miscreants to his outfit as ?we have special rewards for informants on ticket racketeers.?
According to MMT top official, the company?s buses are the safest mode of road transport in country and they are doing all in their power to retain that spot.
He said for safety arrival, MMT has a speed limit device in the buses pegged at 80km/hour and charged passengers to caution drivers who go beyond that limit.
He complained that bad roads in the country cause damage to their buses driving up the company?s maintenance budget.
He also decried the attitude of the Ghana Private Road Traffic Unit (GPRTU) towards the MMT.
?The MMT does not receive any subvention from the government, but the GPRTU have their own perception about us. The other transport buses must know that we are not in competition with them, but simply fulfilling a social mandate.?
Mr.Boadi-Misa noted that ?MMT currently has 700 operational buses, 304 routes and 15 depots across the country. Currently it has a staff strength of 3,000, including janitorial service personnel, security, and bus washing.?
He mentioned the shareholders of MMT as State Insurance Company, National Investment Bank, Ghana Oil Company Limited, Agriculture Development Bank, Prudential Bank and SSNIT.
These together have 55% shareholding. The Government of Ghana holds the remaining 45% shares.
STORY: PHILIP KUMI