The General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union, is calling on government to revive the ailing ‘Ayalolo’ buses which operate the BRT system in the country to alleviate pressure on public transportation as the novel Coronavirus continues to spread.
Earlier this week, the President in an announcement directed all commercial transport drivers to restrict the number of passengers as part of measures to help curb the pandemic.
He also announced that as part of the partial lock-down in parts of Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa, intercity travel in these areas would be restricted to the transport of only essential services.
But the Union in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Bernard Owusu, said it is necessary for the buses to be used to make the practice of the social distancing rule possible.
“We are urging the government to focus and revive the dwindled Ayalolo buses which are supposed to operate the BRT system in Ghana. We believe that this is the time such buses are needed on our roads to ease the pressure on our passengers who panic over the virus,” the statement noted.
Among other things, the Union is also demanding the swift release of the stimulus package to assist in its operations.
They further called on government to continue to provide their workers with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and other logistics to facilitate their work and to prevent the spread within their ranks.
In addition, the Union is asking government to come clean on the stance of other stakeholders who are part of the Petroleum Distribution Downstream Sector such as the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company Limited (BOST) and Tanker drivers as they have not been included in the Imposition of the Restrictive Act, 2020.
“Regarding the additional measures to curb the spread of the virus, the President on Friday 27th March, 2020 outlined various measures directed at individuals and institutions that fall under the Imposition of the Restrictive Act, 2020 (Act 1012). The Union, GTPCWU of Ghana TUC has observed with much concern that in the oil and gas sector only staff of fuel filling stations have been exempted from the lockdown imposed by the President. Our worry as a Union is that other essential petroleum sectors which collaborate to enable fuel to reach the filling stations have been left out from the exemptions. We call on the President to ensure that this category of Petroleum Sector workers are accordingly catered for, ” the statement noted.
Currently, Ghana’s case count has risen to 152 cases with 5 deaths and 2 recoveries. This follows the confirmation of 11 new cases by the Ghana Health Service on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases is over 600,000 with more than 27,000 deaths.
Partial lockdown of COVID-19
On Friday, 27th March, 2020, President Nana Akufo-Addo imposed the partial lockdown of Accra, Tema and Kumasi which have been identified as the epicentres of the novel coronavirus in Ghana.
In a nationwide address, he stated that “effective 1:00 am on Monday, 30th March, some forty-eight hours from now, I have imposed, pursuant to the powers granted the President of the Republic, under the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), restrictions on the movement of persons in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA, which includes Awutu Senya East), and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and contiguous districts, for a period of two (2) weeks, subject to review.”