Do not legalise the use of Motorcycles (OKADA) for Public Transport in Ghana

Do not legalise the use of Motorcycles (OKADA) for Public Transport in Ghana

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Jonas Aryee started this petition to National Road Safety Commission and

The problem in the cities in Ghana is not lack of options for public transportation but congestion hence people resort to Okada for quick transit. In the rural areas, there is a lack of options hence they have no choice. This, however, does not warrant legalising Okada. it is the easiest way out for the government to shirk its responsibility of providing sustainable public transport services. We have over 200 buses packed and rotting away and we are not angry enough at the waste of our money...we have ordered CNG powered buses yet we are boldly encouraging Okada with it health, safety and environmental pollution implications. The President of Ghana, Nana Akuffo Addo is the co-chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates for the UN SDGs. He will shoot himself in the foot by encouraging an unsustainable means of transport. Isn't that an Irony? 

The use of motorcycles as a means of public transport is the least sustainable means of public transport due to the health, safety and environmental pollution risks. Already the accident rates in Ghana are overwhelming our major hospitals, crime using motorcycles are on the increase, the environmental pollution will eventually cause an increase in our health bill years down the line not to talk about the plain nuisance of these operators occupying public spaces like pedestrian lanes, the streets and junctions. When it is legalised
1. Lack of enforcement of the laws will still be the issue as it is today
2. The number of motorcycles will increase beyond our control. At the moment we have about 60000 registered with many not registered and unlicensed
3. Ghana will miss out on UN Sustainable Development Goals on the environment as evidence from Uganda, Benin, Togo etc prove that there are high levels of emissions from these single/double occupancy motorcycles
4. It will be against modern sustainable transport principles
5. it will increase our Health bill in the long run due to accidents and pulmonary diseases

The problems of mobility can be solved in a more sustainable way by
1. Promoting non-motorised transport in Rural communities by supplying bicycles and dedicating mini-buses for medical emergencies or perhaps overlooking it in te rural setting for now
2. Develop alternative mass transit systems like rail/light rail and water transport in the cities
3. Discourage the use of minibuses for commercial purposes in favour of high occupancy buses especially for intercity commutes or
Restrict minibuses to municipal localities (e.g within LEKMA) and let high occupancy mass transit buses do cross municipal transits [eg between Nungua (LEKMA) and circle (AMA)]
4. Insist on the law that requires public transport operators to be registered companies licensed to operate in certain jurisdictions. This will be a good incentive/business opportunity for some people to consider operating in rural communities.
5. Let the municipalities regulate the provision of transport services in their jurisdiction. It is too centralised.

I started this petition because…

Our pride as a country is at stake. We brag to our colleagues in the east that we do not encourage the use of motorcycles for public transport but now it's going to change. Our cities will be an eyesore now. Worse of all, we will pile up health bills in the near future.

I have travelled quite a bit and had my fair share of experience with motorcycles know as Bodas in East Africa. In Uganda, It is hard to breathe fresh air in the streets of Kampala due to the hundreds of motorbikes transporting people. Colleagues tell me Togo are Benin is no exception. I beg to differ from people who compare these countries to Ghana. In Uganda and Liberia, there is a clear lack of options for transport. It is hard to find a taxi to hail so Bodas fill the gap. In Ghana, options abound. Some taxis are even redundant.

The issue of the use of motorcycles for commercial use (Okada) comes at a time when efforts are being made to provide mass transit for the people knowing that transport is the fulcrum of economic activities but it must be affordable and environmentally friendly. All over the world Governments are pursuing sustainable transport which keeps us from stress and heart diseases. Countries have pledged to attain zero emissions by certain periods. Use of private cars is being discouraged in favour of high occupancy mass transit to cut down on carbon emissions, cost and reduce health risks. Motorcycles are not part of the mix for sustainable transport unless of course if they are electrically powered.

I am very worried for our country GHANA. Of all the issues we have, we decide to do a national consultation on whether to legalise and regulate the commercial use of motorcycles. We never did national consultations on the introduction of BRT which is a more sustainable way of carrying people around and saving our environment and health...IWe have over 200 buses packed and rotting away due to a failed implementation of a BRT system and we are not angry enough at the waste of our money...we have ordered CNG (Gas) powered buses yet we boldly encouraging Okada with it health, safety and environmental pollution implications. The President of Ghana, Nana Akuffo Addo is the co-chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates for the UN SDGs. He will shoot himself in the foot if he assents to legalising Okada because he is supposed to advocate for the protection of the environment.
I thought we will rather do a national consultation of the drivers' unions to work together to change the face of public transport.

Dear Friends join me in the fight against this backward unsustainable means of transport. We already have a problem regulating cars, don't add Okada. We can't legalise it and we can't regulate it. Let us leave the law as it is and cut the rural folks some slack.

I am Jonas Aryee, a Transport Economist and lecturer at the Regional Maritime University in Ghana. I have represented my institution at Transport Working Group of the Transport related Ministries for a couple of years and I am privy to efforts being made by the Government to provide Sustainable and Integrated Transport Services for our country, Ghana.

 

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