Business News of Saturday, 21 January 2017
Managers of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) have called for a legislative instrument to criminalise the encroachment on the dedicated lanes for the Quality Bus System (QBS) by other road users.
Such instrument, they explained, would ensure law and order along the designated lanes for the BRT to provide a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable and cost-effective service at metro-level capacities.
The Public Affairs Manager of the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE), Mr Fred Chidi, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra that for the BRT to progress in the country, other road users must stay away from the dedicated lanes for the buses.
Urging the police to ensure sanity on the BRT lane, the manager said operators of the buses intended to adopt the services of marshals who would lead the buses to the terminals.
The call comes at a time when private commercial vehicles and other road users have adopted the habit of driving with their headlights and double hazard lights on to avoid traffic.
The practice is seriously defeating the purpose for which this laudable idea was actualised to ease travel time for commuters who use the commercial buses as in the case of other jurisdictions such as Curikita in Brazil, Bogata in Columbia, New York City and London among other places.
Interestingly, the abuse of the dedicated roads is done sometimes in the full glare of the police who always stand aloof while these unscrupulous and undisciplined road users have their way.
Mr Chidi said the buses which currently run three services on the Nsawam road corridor, from Amasaman to Tudu, Ofankor to Tudu and Achimota to Tudu have been in commercial operations for about a month.
He said although the BRT contained features similar to a light rail or metro system, it was much more reliable, convenient and faster than regular bus services.
With the right features, BRT is able to avoid the causes of delay that typically slow regular bus services, such as being in traffic, stuck and queuing to pay on board.
In Africa, Nigeria was the first country to introduce BRT in Lagos.
He said the patronage of the AAYALOLO buses had been enjoying a steady increase since its commercial introduction on December 1 last year.
After a successful free test run of the BRT system for a week in September 2016, it started with gradual increment in ticket sales and had recently sold about 4,000 tickets for the last 10 days.
“The figure indicates that patronage of the AAYALOLO buses are gradually increasing by the day,” he said
He said although figures were looking impressive by the day they could have done better had there been a proper legislative framework criminalising the encroachment on the dedicated lanes for the QBS.
He explained that the BRT could have doubled its performance in just a month if other road users stayed away from the dedicated lanes for the QBS.
“We have actually promised commuters who patronise the service to save them 30 minutes of their travel time,” he stated.
To use the service, Mr Chidi explained that commuters would be provided with electronic cards that would be preloaded with cash to enable them to access the service.
The cards, once procured, could be used on all buses in the fleet. About 42 ticketing booths are being provided along the routes where the buses stop to pick up passengers.
In the air-conditioned buses, there are facilities to validate the e-cards, their authenticity and whether commuters have paid the required fare.
The manager said once validated, access was granted for one to enter the inner perimeter of the bus, but a commuter had to de-validate the card before disembarking.
“For this reason, entry onto the bus can only be done from the driver’s side of the bus, while exit can only be done through the rear,” he added.
He urged commuters who patronise the services of the buses to ensure they have been validated twice before they leave the bus.