Tourism has manifold branches, and it involves a considerable amount of things prior to accomplishing the goal of enough revenue for development. One of them is commercial transport drivers who transport people, particularly international visitors to their various destinations when they arrive in a specific country.
A seriously high level of individuals all over the world who don’t have their personal vehicle join commercial buses to their various destinations, including job places. Be that as it may, when you join some of these commercial buses in Ghana, it’s as if you’ve “imprison” yourself for the next couple of minutes prior to reaching at your final journey.
In Ghana, over 85% of the populace are passengers of commercial vehicles (which are commonly called ‘Trotro’) and taxis. In fact, travelers expect to have a comfortable ride, but they have over the years, gone through a great deal of subjugation by breathing in entirely horrible stenches from some of these drivers and their guides or conductors (popularly called mates).
The stenches are horrendous to such an extent that, sometimes passengers can’t even breathe. They are compelled to hold onto breath for a few minutes until they arrive at their destination. Other than this, some of these drivers and their guides are always seen wearing extremely stinky and unkempt haircuts, that additionally comes with it’s own issues.
Meanwhile, tourism has a part to play in this. In what way? Sightseers from around the world visit the country any time within the year, and the majority of them use the commercial transport for every one of their tours. So, why is Ghana’s tourism ministry and the Road transport Unions sitting inactive by not making a move against those liable for the government assistance of these commercial transport drivers?.
Heads of Motor Traffic Unions (MTU) and other regulatory bodies ought to be proactive and sanction these stinky, thoughtless and rancid drivers and their guides (mates) to help attract more visitors to join commercial transport ‘comfortably’.
There should be a necessary policy prescription that should be doled out to force these commercial operators to take their bath and look decent for passengers to also enjoy a safe and comfortable ride. Sometimes, the stench is just beyond imagination. So I ask, can’t anyone at any point advise these individuals to essentially wash up and look a bit decent or pleasing?
In a vox pop interview with some passengers, practically every one of the four vehicles they joined before getting to their workplaces on that day saw these ‘mates’ having a serious body stench in addition to their torn and smelling dresses.
“It has become a norm. We couldn’t in fact inhale yet we have nobody to complain to. We already have issues coming from our various homes, and then we additionally join these buses to have a smell of our lives. It is exceptionally terrible”– One of the passengers said.
Road transport by far carries more passengers in the country than combined rail, river, foot and air — yet it is one of the areas where an abundance of regulatory gaps has led to non-standardisation and an unclear direction for strategic growth.
In most developed nations, these drivers are taken through a sensitization program to make them look extremely presentable both for themselves and country. And so this legitimizes why commercial transport drivers assist with supporting the rise in tourism revenue in their countries.
They engage these tourists by selling their country to them apart from looking good. Is that the same in Ghana? Only a tad part of these drivers do this, while greater part of them deter visitors from joining these vehicles.
Ghana like many other countries, has regulatory bodies to regulate other modes of transports services, therefore the Tourism ministry, Road Safety Commission, GPRTU, Progressive Owners Transport Association (PROTOA) and all other regulatory bodies should be tough on the drivers to look appealing for both Ghanaian passengers and international visitors.
Road transport regulatory bodies are mandated to enforce rules and regulations, therefore this is one of the issues to be tackled. The absence of an overarching body setting policies, standards and regulations has resulted in stunted growth of the sector coupled with low standards impacting on health, safety and loss of producer and consumer welfare. Unfortunately, most transport unions regulate themselves with their own sets of laws.
On average most Ghanaians commute via public transport, which is provided mainly by a large number of individual operators mostly in the informal sector. In Accra alone, the modal share for informal transport is more than 70%. Private operators dominate the industry, with the Metro Mass Transit Ltd. (MMT) contributing less than 5% of the total passenger traffic.
Transport Associations are to help improve the bus transport industry, and to ensure that drivers adhere to the safety rules and regulations outlined by the MoT and its relevant agencies including looking presentable.
However, the absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework for the passenger transport sector in Ghana seems to have promoted anti-competitive tendencies in the sector. Having a regulatory authority would further attract private investments and partnerships from private firms and individuals in the sector — by improving its predictability.