The Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has expressed the government’s commitment to revamp the “Aayalolo Bus Service” to improve urban mobility in Accra and three other capital cities, namely Sekondi-Takoradi, Kumasi and Tamale.
He said the government and stakeholders would allow lessons from the suspended bus service operations in Accra guide them in introducing new services and establishing same in the cities involved.
“As part of the revamping efforts, a total of 100 buses have been earmarked for deployment to the metropolitan assemblies of Sekondi-Takoradi, Kumasi and Tamale for intra-city operations among the regional capitals,” he said.
Taking his turn at a meet-the-press programme in Accra yesterday, Mr Asiamah said, “the Ministry of Transport in collaboration with the Local Government and Finance Ministries would restructure current operations of the Aayalolo Bus Service”.
“We are going to put in place the needed infrastructure to make the service cost effective,” he said.
Mr Asiamah said the, “Aayalolo Bus Service” was first piloted in Accra on the Amasaman to Tudu corridor in the latter part of 2016, but it had to be suspended, unfortunately, due to financial and operational challenges.
He said despite the government’s injection of GH¢4.5 million into the operations of the Aayalolo Bus Service, the system could not be sustained until it was eventually suspended in late 2018.
He said the Ministry of Transport was working closely with the ministries of Local Government, Finance, Roads and Highways and its development partners to restructure operations of the bus service and to also introduce the services in the cities of Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi.
He said Kumasi had already commenced operating the bus service and that 120 drivers were currently being trained for all the three regional capitals where the buses were to be introduced.
Mr Asiamah maintained that it was the government’s policy to have at least 80 per cent of the travelling public commute by high occupancy bus services.
In that respect, he said, last year the government supported the Metro Mass Transit Ltd (MMT) with 50 new inter-city buses to augment its fleet.
“Another 50 buses are expected in the second quarter of this year.
“Similarly, the Inter-city STC Coaches Limited will also receive 100 new inter-city buses to augment its fleet,” he announced.
Touching on expansion of ports in the country, the minister said there had been a lot of investments in the country’s two main sea ports in Tema and Takoradi aimed at modernising and positioning them as leading container hubs in the West Africa subregion.
He said four dedicated container terminals were being developed at the Tema Port to respond to the increasing trade volumes as well as address infrastructure deficit.
“The Takoradi port is also to have a facelift with the development of a multi-purpose container terminal by a wholly Ghanaian-owned company, Ibistek, at a cost of US$450 million.
“For the first time in the history of this country, Ibistek has been engaged to develop this landmark project and this demonstrates the government’s commitment to involve Ghanaian citizens in the country’s development process,” he said.