Drivers still flouting directives on bus stops(17 September 2014)

Four months after the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) had directed its various units to clear bus stops within the Accra metropolis of vehicles that park and load, the situation persists.

The department had, in February this year, issued an ultimatum stipulating an April deadline to drivers parking in such bus stops to stop the practice or risk being dealt with by the police. However, four months  after the deadline, the chaotic situation remains.

The Daily Graphic of Tuesday, January 21, 2014 reported the growing concerns over the conversion of bus stops into illegal trotro and taxi stations, a development which is responsible for the worsening traffic situation in parts of the metropolis.

One of such illegal stations is the 37 Military Hospital bus stops, which an official of the MTTD of the Ghana Police Service described as the worst example.

It is common to find trotros and taxis parked for long periods at the designated bus stops. In the morning and evening rush hours, the vehicles usually overstay their welcome of ‘One Minute’, which is boldly displayed at bus stops, as the driver’s mates solicit passengers.

When the rather small bus stops are full, other commercial drivers are compelled to stop on the shoulders of the roads, and in some cases the inner lanes, to make passengers get down or pick passengers.

Bus stops turned into lorry parks

That situation often results in unnecessary congestion and tailback.

There is no precise record on the number of bus stops in Accra,  but those that have become a source of worry to road users are the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange bus stop, opposite the Accra Mall; the bus stop opposite the Max Mart supermarket near the 37 Military Hospital; the 37 Military Hospital bus stop; the Nima bus stop under the bridge close to the market; the bus stop at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, near Vodafone offices; the Kingsway bus stop, near the COCOBOD Head Office in the central business district of Accra; the bus stops at the Movenpick Hotel, the Novotel Hotel, the Gulf House, the Madina Zongo Junction, the Kaneshie Market and the Achimota bus stop under the overpass.

Ironically, the Police Headquarters bus stop is not left out of the invasion, as commercial bus drivers defy the ‘One Minute’ sign to load their buses, sometimes in the full glare of the police.

Other bus stops where commercial vehicles pitch camp to ply their trade include the bus stop opposite the Flagstaff House, the seat of government; all the bus stops close to the Danquah Circle, the Labone Junction, the Pig Farm bus stop, the bus stop opposite the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, the Dzorwulu Junction, Paloma and Silver Cup bus stops.

At the bus stop near the Vodafone offices and the one  close to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle GCB, the recalcitrant drivers compete for space with traders selling carpet and scrap metals.

A commercial driver, John Tamakloe, insisted that there was nothing wrong with picking up passengers at the bus stops, since they needed the extra passengers to break even in the face of fuel price hikes.

After the Daily Graphic publication, the MTTD in February met stakeholders, including the National Road Safety Commission, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and Progressive Transport Owners Association (PROTOA) and other transport unions to deliberate on the way forward.

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