Automated train tickets would aid to account for revenue – Joe Ghartey

The Minister-designate for Railway Development says he is excited about the prospect of using technology to account for ticket revenue in the soon-to-be developed railway transportation in Ghana. 

Joe Ghartey said since he saw the new Ayalolo bus service, currently running on a pilot basis on some routes in Accra using automated tickets, he got convinced it could be replicated when the train services kickstart. 

The former Attorney General told Parliament’s Appointments Committee at his vetting Thursday that he has already been approached by some young technology-savvy youngsters who are interested in helping in that regard. 

The Ghana Railway Development Authority established under the Railways Act 2008,(Act 779) is mandated to promote the development of railways and railways services, hold, administer and improve the railway assets and promote the development and management of sub-urban railway. 

Things have however not worked according to plan as the railway services has not lived up to the expectations of its pioneers. 

However, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its 2016 manifesto promised the development of interconnected roads, railways, ports & harbours (RRHPs) systems which are part of the key component of the party’s Integrated Infrastructure Development Programme. 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo wanted to focus on the sector as promised in the manifesto so dedicated a Ministry to execute the plans he has for developing it.  

Speaking about how he would execute the plan in the spirit of transparency as the NPP has promised, Mr Ghartey said it is not rocket service since there is a running bus service with an automated ticketing system. 

“A couple of young people who approached me said ‘we can create an app that can track the movement of the train for you’,” he said adding they explained that it would work just as the Uber services can be tracked at any point in time that the service is being offered. 

An animated Mr Ghartey said since they want to create a business out of it, he is more excited about the prospect of what together with the youth they can use technology to achieve. 

He assured the Committee that with the new slogan ‘let get the trains moving’ the nation’s rail system is moving to the next level which does not include holding manual tickets. 

In a related development, he said, for the time being, he would want to concentrate on getting the trains running before considering an underground train which he hopes would be considered in the future when the nation’s railways are working.

He, however, warned that MPs engage those in their constituencies who encroach on the railways to stay off as the soon-to-be-introduced trains would be running at a speed of 100mph.