The Ghanaian Government and local authorities in Accra both see the new BRT system from Scania as important tool for increasing productivity on a national and city level.
Scania’s customer in the new wide-ranging BRT deal is the government of Ghana, which then leases the buses to the Greater Accra Public Transport Executive (GAPTE), a company formed by Accra region municipalities. GAPTE in turn leases the buses to three different operators which previously were primarily responsible for operating the thousands of minibuses in use in Accra.
Ghana’s Transport Minister, Hon. Dzifa Attivor, says it was the government’s responsibility to ensure a safe, high-quality bus system for Accra. “One example of this is that we ensured that the BRT system was also suited for people with disabilities,” she says.
“Needed the whole package”
Representatives from the Ghanaian Government and the city of Accra studied bus systems in several countries before making a decision. “In Johannesburg in South Africa, we realised that a fleet of quality buses wasn’t enough,” says Attivor. “We needed the whole package, with a ticketing system, driver training, service, and maintenance. And for this type of solution, Scania was the best option.”
The government of Ghana sees the most important goal of the bus system as reducing travel times for those working in the capital city. “It currently takes a really long time for everyone to get to their offices and workplaces,” says the Transport Minister. “Many are completely exhausted by the time they arrive and this reduces productivity. We couldn’t continue with this situation. As we develop Ghana, we need to take new ideas on board so that we can transform the country’s economy.”
The Mayor of Accra, Hon. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, is very proud of the development project in the capital city. He happily discusses the increased efficiency and improved productivity that will result from the BRT system.
”Accra is now going down the same road as other cities such as Johannesburg, Bogotá and New York,” he says. ”A high-quality BRT system allows us to increase safety, allows people to get to work on time and to arrive there conveniently. Modernising the city’s transport system doesn’t mean that the old system with minibuses is being thrown on the scrapheap. It will still play a role, but needs to be modernised and cooperation between operators increased.
Samson Gyamera, Managing Director for GAPTE, sees the BRT system as important, but just a part of a larger plan for improving traffic conditions in the city. “The most important thing for GAPTE is to facilitate the mobility of the inhabitants of Accra,” he says.
Hon. Dzifa Attivor is also keen to highlight the climate and environmental aspects of the capital city’s new bus system. These aspects go hand in hand with government savings.
A holistic view
“Given today’s climate change challenges, we need to look at this issue more holistically,” she says. “Up until now, the government of Ghana has been forced to pay dearly in foreign currency for the fossil fuels that contribute to Accra’s unproductive traffic flows. By introducing these large, efficient, high-quality buses, we can save money while at the same time doing the environment a favour.”