The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) transport system which is expected to ease the transportation challenges facing commuters on the Accra-Nsawamroad, will begin early next year.
The first batch of 85 buses for the programme would be ready by the end of December.
The minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa A. Attivor who disclosed this at the Ministry’s turn of the Meet -the -Press series in Accra yesterday, said 10 of the buses for the BRT had been procured and were being used for the training of drivers, as well as the scheduling of routes.
The programme, which was meant to highlight the progress of transport projects the ministry was undertaking, was attended by the top hierarchy of all 15 agencies under the ministry.
Among the units are the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Ghana Shippers Authority, Ghana Maritime Authority, and Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
Mrs Attivor explained that the BRT, which would be operated on the Amasaman-Accra central business district corridor on a pilot basis, would be replicated on the Adenta-Accra and Accra-Kasoa roads.
She said the new buses for the BRT had been designed to make it accessible for the aged and the physically-challenged.
She said a total of 495 buses were being procured to strengthen the operations of the Metro Mass Transit Limited and the Inter-State Transport Company.
Mrs Attivor disclosed that the ministry was developing a transport master plan for the Greater Accra metropolitan area, saying “the project is being funded through a $1.5 million Korean government grant with the objective of setting a clear direction for transport in the Greater Accra Region for the next 20 years”.
On aviation, she said the ministry was embarking on more than ten projects to expand the facilities to accommodate more air traffic and improve security at the Kotoka International Airport.
For instance, he said work was on- going on the expansion of the arrival hall of the Kotoka International Airport, adding that contract had been awarded for a new third terminal of the airport.
In addition, she said the installation of close circuit television cameras has had been completed to enhance security at the airport.
The minister said work on the establishment of a new international airport in the Dangbe area was on-going.
She also said feasibility studies had been completed for the establishment of a new national airline and a private sector player would soon be sought to partner government to establish the new national airline.
Touching on the maritime sub-sector, the minister said the construction of a 450-metre jetty to handle bulk cargo was 70 per cent complete and expected to be completed by the end of next year.
She said the construction of a first-class hospital for the GPHA would be completed and commissioned in the first quarter of next year.
The minister, on railway, said the construction of the Sekondi-Takoradi-Kojokrom sub-urban railway line was ongoing, saying the project involved the construction of 10.1 kilometres double track railway line from Takoradi to Kojokrom and a 4.5-kilometre single track line to Sekondi-Takoradi, the project, being funded by the government was 50 per cent complete.
“Government is sourcing funding from the Exim Bank of India to undertake Tema to Akosombo Railway line as part of the Eastern Corridor Multi-Modal Transport System to link the Volta Lake,” Mrs Attivor stated, adding that “funding arrangements are being finalised for commencement of works.”
Mrs Attivor disclosed that three-unit 50-seater high speed ferries and one modular cargo vessel had been procured to strengthen the VLTC, stressing “all the four ferries have been assembled and are undergoing testing and trials for deployment.”
Giving the half-year provision road crashes statistics for 2014 and 2015, the Minister said road crashes reduced from 6984 last year to 5,573 this year, representing 20 per cent reduction.
She said the number of people killed in road crashes from January-June stood at 963, while the figure for the same period this year stood at 842.
Those who were injured, Mrs Attivor said reduced from 6,317 in January-June 2014 to 4,843 in the same period in 2015.
Outlining some of the challenges facing the ministry, Mrs Attivor mentioned inadequate funding, encroachment of the lands of the ministry and lack of titles to land for transport infrastructure.
She said the government would continue to engage private sector partners for the provision of infrastructure.
By Kingsley Asare