Spread railways across the country

Some commuters from Accra central and Circle to Tema or the other way round have resorted to patronising the inter-city rail transport system.

The commuters say they have come to realise the enormous benefits of the rail transport.

They state that the rail transport has helped them to escape the arbitrariness of commercial drivers who ply the Accra central -Tema and Circle-Tema routes.

They explain, for instance, that before the two successive increases in fares in the coun­try over the last two weeks, Circle-Tema was GH¢10.50 and the first increment on Oc­tober 29 made it GH¢15.

Now, some drivers charge GH¢18 whereas others de­mand GH¢19.

Meanwhile the charge for the first class coachis a flat rate of GH¢7 and the second class one is GH¢5.

This means those paying even GH¢18 and have resort­ed to boarding the first class coach are saving GH¢11 one-way, and are saving GH¢22 a day.

Those who take the second class coaches save GH¢26 daily.

That is to say in a week, commuters are saving over GHc100 in transport fares.

The commuters also say using the rail transport saves them the stress of going through gridlock.

This point is very im­portant for two reasons— safeguarding commuters’ health and avoiding loss of man-hours in traffic jams, which is an econom­ic gain.

We know that since assuming the reins of the country, the Akufo-Addo administration has been making efforts to fix the country’s railway system and even extend it beyond its borders.

With the present cir­cumstances where driver unions claim transport operators can only break even with fares they find appropriate and the gov­ernment is handicapped in restraining them because of high prices of petro­leum products and spare parts, the option is for the government to be more serious with fixing the railways.

That is to say that the railways should be all over the place.

As a result, workers can make some savings from the high road transport fares in the country.

Besides, food sellers can bring foodstuffs to the ur­ban centres at a relatively low cost and thus reduce their prices.

The other serendipitous benefits is that lateness to work would reduce dras­tically as most workers would not suffer grid­locks, hence productivity would increase.

 Besides, once the railway system becomes efficient, commercial drivers may not get enough passengers for them to move as frequently as they do now, whereas some private car owners may choose to patro­nise the trains to save fuel and other running cost.

That situation can help reduce carbon emissions into the country’s atmosphere at a time it has joined the rest of the world in fighting causes and impacts of climate change.

That way, the country can indirectly enhance efforts of reducing carbon emissions as contained in certain agreements it has signed.

Examples of such agree­ments are the one done on July 9, 2019 in Washington with the World Bank that rewards community efforts to reduce carbon emissions from defor­estation and forest degradation, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding it signed in Bern, Switzerland in February 2020 for financial support for emission reduction activities.

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