Government will by July 1, implement the High Quality Bus Service (HQBS) from Amasaman to Tudu, to improve bus services in the Accra Metropolis.

The reforms in the urban transport sector is to address the numerous challenges faced by commuters in Accra and its surrounding communities on the Amasaman ? Tudu, Adentan ?Tema and Kasoa to the Central Business District through the beach road.

Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, at a meeting with some stakeholders in Accra, explained that the implementations were going to be done one after the other with the Amasaman to the Tudu corridor being scheduled to commence from July 1st this year as the first phase of the project.

This comes with the understanding that infrastructure improvement alone will not yield the necessary benefits sought, however the intended reforms would holistically address them in situational, regulatory and industry challenges experienced.

A harmonized enforcement exercise was embarked on to close down illegal stations to get drivers regularize their business with the Assemblies, by either joining existing unions or creating new organizations,

These activities had led in the registration of 40 new taxi and tro-tro groups with a total membership of 1,365 drivers, bringing to 544 the total number of registered taxi and tro-tro groups within the Greater-Accra Metropolitan Assembly GAMA.

During the exercise, a total of 21 unapproved stations were closed down across GAMA, 19 unregistered stations regularized their activities and were issued with operating permits, while 11 others were relocated before being issued with operating permits.

According to the Mayor, as part of the way forward, the Steering Committee on Urban Transportation in Accra (SCUTA) has decided to implement a Standard Vehicle Sticker and harmonized transport related fees across the participating Assemblies whereas unique color codes have been adopted for the vehicle stickers for 2014.

?A blue colored sticker shall be issued for all categories of tro-tro, and a red colored sticker shall be issued for taxis?, he said.

Dr. Vanderpuye said that the insurance of these new color-coded sticker will begin this month, and all registered transport operating entities are to acquire their 2014 operating permits from approved points in the various Assemblies where they are duly registered since the compliance period  is between now and March 31, 2014.

The acquisition of operating permits from the local assemblies by all urban public transportation services and the assistance to establish bus operating companies for current tro-tro operators are some of the key issues at the local Assembly level.

Government policy is to implement a mass transit system, beginning with HQBS on the Amasaman-Adentan ?Tema station corridors hence the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with local transport operators, GPRTU, PROTOA, CO-OPERATIVE and GRTCC.

Discussions are on-going with bus manufacturing companies and the financial institutions to secure the necessary funding to acquire the rolling stock or buses.

Source: GNA

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