Motoring with Bob Roco ROMEO: Gov’t to acquire 100 electric buses


-launches new digital ticketing system for public transport

By Kizito CUDJOE

The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has announced plans to acquire a fleet of 100 electric buses for the Metro Mass Transport Limited (MMT) by the end of the year, as part of efforts to usher in a new era of sustainability and efficiency in the transportation sector.

The move to acquire electric buses underscores the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and embracing eco-friendly alternatives, he said at the launch of a digital ticketing system dubbed ‘Tap & Go’ for the MMT in Accra.

Electric buses are renowned for their cost-effectiveness and long-term environmental advantages, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.

“The Minister of Transport has just told me of the debt that is owed by Metro Mass through the government. He intends to write to the Ministry of Finance to convert that debt to equity and this will make the balance sheet stronger and the banks will be able to provide more credit,” the Vice President stated.

He expressed confidence that the financial re-engineering, anchored by the ‘Tap & Go’ system, will give banks confidence in the ability of MMT to repay its credit.

The newly introduced technological upgrade is expected to enhance passenger convenience, streamline operational processes and reduce reliance on traditional paper-based ticketing methods.

“Our latest digital initiative for the transport sector, is a momentous occasion in our journey toward a more efficient and digitally empowered transportation system,” Dr. Bawumia said, while acknowledging the challenges which confront the sector.

Among the challenges, he noted, are delays at lorry stations, inability to identify passengers in case of accidents, corruption and inability to effectively monitor vehicle activities.

Others are lack of access to credit due to the inability of banks to verify the revenue performance of vehicles, the inconvenience of drivers receiving fake currencies and the robbery of drivers and passengers due to cash being carried around, among others.

It is against these difficulties that the government teamed up with the private sector to come out with the ‘Tap & Go’ transport project to help enhance MMT operational efficiency.

“The Tap & Go project seeks to build a single system – a common platform – for the entire transport ecosystem. That is for inter and intra city bus services, trotro, taxi services and the call on-demand Uber-like transport services,” he stated.

The Vice President further asserted that the “solution is to provide a single transport card for all commuting payments in Ghana; hence, the ‘Tap & Go’ system, developed locally by Ghanaians.

The new system, among others, is equipped with added features tailored to support various modes of transportation, including parcel delivery and tracking, ride hailing services, inter and inner-city bus services and later, the trotro buses.

The Tap & Go system is designed to be used with a virtual or physical card pre-loaded with cash or through the Tap & Go app downloadable on smartphones.

In his welcome remarks, the Managing Director (MD) of MMT, Albert Adu Boahen, said over the past two years, “our team has been hard at work, revolutionising the way we operate, culminating in the latest innovations – e-ticketing system and the Tap & Go payment solution.

He admitted that the manual ticketing operations of MMT had been a key concern as it resulted in revenue leakages.

This, he said, necessitated the need for a more robust system that would stand the test of time “as far as our revenue generation is concerned. Leveraging technology to achieve sustainable growth in our business”.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, indicated that the latest initiative aligns with efforts to introduce innovation in public transport service delivery as well as ensure the safety, security and well-being of public transport users.

He described the Tap & Go system as an innovative and game-changing technology that represents a significant milestone in the continuous efforts of the government to improve and modernise the public transport services delivery.

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