Bus stops under siege from trotro, taxi drivers

There are growing concerns over the conversion of bus stops into illegal trotro and taxi stations, a development which is responsible for the worsening traffic situation in parts of Accra.

One of such illegal stations is the 37 Military Hospital bus stop, which an official of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service described as the worst example.

Out of the 34 bus stops identified by the Daily Graphic, 15 appeared more as lorry stations than bus stops.

Bus stops are provided during road construction to facilitate the loading and offloading of passengers, but in parts of Accra this idea is turning into a nightmare which city authorities have to nip in the bud.

It is common to find trotros and taxis parked for long hours at these designated bus stops. In the morning and evening rush hours, the vehicles usually overstay their welcome of ‘One Minute’ which is boldly displayed, as the drivers’ mates solicit for more passengers.

When the rather small bus stops are full, other commercial drivers are compelled to park along the shoulders of roads, and in some cases the inner roads, to make passengers get down or pick passengers. 

That situation often results in unnecessary congestion and a long tailback. 

There is no precise record on the number of bus stops in Accra,  but those that have become a source of worry to road users are the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange bus stop, opposite the Accra Mall; the bus stop opposite the Max Mart supermarket near the 37 Military Hospital; the Nima bus stop under the bridge close to the market, the bus stop at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, near Vodafone offices; the Kingsway bus stop near the COCOBOD Head Office in the central business district of Accra; the bus stops at the Movenpick Hotel, the Novotel Hotel, the Gulf House, the Madina Zongo Junction, the Kaneshie Market and the Achimota bus stop under the overpass.

Ironically, the Police Headquarters bus stop is not left out of the invasion, as commercial bus drivers defy the ‘One Minute’ sign to load their buses, sometimes in the full glare of the police. 

Other bus stops where commercial vehicles pitch camp to ply their trade include the bus stop opposite the Flagstaff House, the seat of government; all the bus stops close to the Danquah Circle, the Labone Junction, the Pig Farm bus stop, the bus stop opposite the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, the Dzorwulu Junction, Paloma and Silver Cup bus stops. 

Real challenge, little solution
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Augustine Akrofi of the Accra Central MTTD conceded that the bus-stops-turned-lorry stations had become a huge problem for the unit. 

He indicated that the Accra Central MTTD alone had three patrol teams in charge of monitoring and controlling traffic offences, including drivers who parked at bus stops to look for passengers.

Drivers are only supposed to park and allow passengers to alight at these bus stops, but that is far from what is happening at many places.

Mr Akrofi attributed the problem to the fact that some of the drivers did not belong to any station but were just ‘floating drivers’.

But that was sharply contradicted by Mr Godfrey Abew, a trotro driver operating at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, who told the Daily Graphic that he belonged to an association but found it convenient to load his vehicle along the way.

Mr Abew, however, declined to mention the name of his lorry station but added that “usually you have to be in a long queue at the station, so once I leave, I try to make some cash before I return”.

Recalcitrant drivers
As if in despair, Mr Akrofi stated, “We have made countless arrests and prosecuted some drivers over this issue and other road traffic offences but the problem still persists.”

“For as long as we are on the ground, the situation is normal, but as soon as we leave, then there is chaos,” he stated, and added that perhaps many of the drivers did not find the fines punitive enough, for which reason they parked without any recourse to the law.

Enforcement is the way forward
“What is the point in providing all the road signs such as ‘No Parking’, ‘One Minute’, for instance, if these cannot be enforced?” the Accra Metropolitan Roads Engineer, Mr Benjamin Adomah, asked. 

According to him, the only way to deal with the problem was to enforce the laws.

Some of these bus-stops-turned-lorry-parks are also dens for criminals and pickpockets who operate under the guise of trying to board vehicles.

Richard Eli Xavier shared the experience his friend went through at one of such places. 

“Checking these illegal bus stops will help reduce pick-pocketing… My friend was almost picked around Spanner Junction (Tetteh Quarshie), but unfortunately for the thief he ended up picking papers and some slaps…”

Dwayne Takyi Collins described the situation as “very bad and so the police should do their work”.


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