Bus Rapid Transit Residents of Accra get free ride as BRT service begins today

The new transport system is expected to improve vehicular movement and reduce delays on some busy streets and ultimately bring relief to motorists.

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Scores of residents have begun enjoying free rides as a test run for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system begins today [Monday, September 26, 2016] on some major streets of Accra.

The new transport system is expected to improve vehicular movement and reduce delays on some busy streets and ultimately bring relief to motorists.

Roland Bruce, the PRO of the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive said nine buses have been deployed for the BRT today.

“This is a test run so from today to Friday; the bus rides will be free. We'll also undertake a mass education programme in the coming weeks,” he told Accra-based Citi FM.

The free bus ride will be only available for passengers on one of the four routes under the BRT service that is, Amasaman through Achimota to Circle and then to Tudu, at the Central Business District.

Some Ghanaians have raised concerns that government is probably rushing the BRT system, as many of the buses are yet to be registered and insured.

READ ALSO: Bus Rapid Transit Drivers threaten strike over BRT system

But Mr Bruce has denied those claims, saying: “We are in the process of registering and insuring the buses. We hope no accidents happen before we register and insure all the buses. We assure passengers of our commitment to our schedule and the rapidity of our buses.

He said since it is a test run, the views and feedback of members of the public on the BRT system is welcomed.

“We want people to give us their comments and complaints and how they want the system to be improved,” he said.

He said: “We are piloting 85 buses from Amasaman to Tudu for about a year. There are USB ports in the BRT buses so passengers can charge their phones. The buses have 40 seats and space for 45 people to stand. We are giving colour codes to the buses; blue strips for Ofankor to Tudu, Achimota-Tudu has a charcoal colour strip.”

Earlier, a group calling itself Ghana Committed Drivers Association threatened to embark on a sit down nationwide strike to protest government’s introduction of the Bus Rapid Transit service.

A spokesperson for the drivers, Francis Appiah, said the move would eventually kick them out of jobs.

“The route where the rapid bus will pass, we the commercial drivers cannot use that route. They are also going to move the drivers from Circle to Achimota new station and create a new station and bus stop for the rapid bus which is unfair to us,” he said.

He argued that “all these are attempts by the government to kick us out of business, and we won’t allow ourselves to be treated this way.

The buses, when fully operational, are expected to ply Accra and Amasaman, Accra and Ofankor, Accra and Adentan, Accra and Tema and Accra and Kasoa.

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