Story: Ato KEELSON
The lack of bus stops from Palm Wine Junction, all the way to T-Junction within Labadi, a suburb of Accra, is causing a lot of nuisance and inconveniences to both motorists and commuters.
According to information available to Today, commercial drivers (commonly referred to as tro-tro drivers) who ply that route (and are affected by the situation) are growing impatient each passing day.
The situation, Today gathered from some of the tro-tro drivers, stems from the reluctance of the La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly (LaDMA) to liaise with the Urban Roads Department of the Ministry of Roads and Highways to provide at least a bus stop along the Palm Wine Junction-T-Junction road.
According to the distraught drivers, their request for bus stops to be built along the road from Palm Wine Junction to T-Junction has completely fallen on deaf ears, with officialdom not bothered about their plight.
And that situation, they claimed, has created space for frequent harassment and arrest by traffic police when they [the tro-tro drivers] drop and pick up passengers on their route.
In the view of the drivers, Palm Wine Junction has, for long, been their usual terminus where they drop and pick up passengers. But that has witnessed many of them incurring the wrath of traffic police officers some of who leverage on the situation to take bribes from them.
They lamented further that they are unable to operate effectively due to the frequent harassment and arrest by traffic police, which adversely affected their daily sales.
The drivers complained that the Labadi police have been harassing and extorting monies from them because of the situation.
One of them who spoke to Today on condition of anonymity alleged that on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 the Labadi police arrested him for no offence and took GHC150 from him.
However, when Today reached the Motor Traffic and Transport Department Commander for Labadi Police, Assistant Supertintdent of Police (ASP) Charles Quaye, he debunked the lallegation against that his personnel collected bribes from some of the tro-tro drivers.
Instead, he called on the tro-tro drivers to cooperate with traffic police officers to bring sanity on the road by doing the right thing.
What is more, ASP Quaye disclosed that his outfit has had several meetings with the La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly in an effort to find a lasting solution to the issue.
Speaking to Today on the matter, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Teshie Nungua, Chairman, Isaac Ahuma Kubi, registered his disquiet over the lack of a single bus stop from Palm Wine Junction, Labadi all the way to T-Junction. He said his members who work from 37 terminus to Tema were having it very tough as they were on daily basis picked up by the traffic police for unlawful dropping of passengers.
According to him, the situation was making it difficult for their members to drop passengers who reside along Palm Wine Junction-Junction.
“The unfortunate thing is that our members who drop off passengers along this stretch are arrested by the police and taken to court which sees them paying fines of GHC500-GHC600. In fact, there are instances where these traffic police take bribes from our members for dropping passengers along the Palm Wine Junction to T-Junction road,” Mr Kubi bewailed.
He, therefore, appealed to officialdom to provide them with bus stops from especially Palm Wine-T-Junction to prevent any altercations between traffic police and their members.
The Municipal Coordinating Director for La Dade-Kotopon, Mr Frimpong Boadu, admitted that the drivers had a genuine complaint, stressing that “whether you like it or not the buses will stop, drop off their passengers and then pick passengers.”
According to him, the development has paved way for conventional bus stops to be created at certain spots.
“…by convention, the people know that this is where the buses stop and so they stand there to wait in their numbers and when the buses get there they pick, stressing that nobody should tell you that we need to create bus stops for them,” Mr Boadu explained.
Elaborating further, the municipal coordinator indicated that these are nodal points.
“When we say nodal points, this is where certain activities converge. Activities in this sense mean that all the people descending from Palm Wine Junction inside—all that big population—join the road from that point you [referring to our reporter] are talking about.”
Consequently, Mr Boadu stressed the need for a bus stop to be provided to serve residents at Palm Wine Junction, the tro-tros and taxis who ply their business on that road.
He disclosed that his outfit has taken notice of the issue are were liaising with the GPRTU to address it as soon as practicable.
For his part, the 37 GPRTU Chairman, Kwaku Frimpong, who is also Welfare Chairman, said they are being confronted with a “very big challenge” as a union.
He bemoaned it was sad that the construction of the road did not make provision for bus stops. He also added his voice to the call for the powers-that-be to create bus stops on their route.
Story: Ato KEELSON