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Colombia To Assist Ghana Operate Public Transport System
The Colombian government has expressed its readiness to assist Ghana to implement the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the country.

The Director for International Co-operation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Columbia, Mr Enrique Maruri Londono, who made the pledge, said Colombia operated one of the best BRT systems in the world and was ready to share and support Ghana with the implementation of the system in the interest of South-South cooperation,

Mr Londono said this when a 15-member Ghanaian delegation, led by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Joe Gidisu, met with him at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Bogota at the weekend.

The delegation, which includes Mr Alfred Vanderpuye, Mr Robert Kempes Ofosuware and Mr Samuel Sarpong of Accra, Tema and Kumasi assemblies respectively and Mr Kwasi Zigah, the Member of Parliament for Ketu South and member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Transport, are presently on a three-nation study tour to observe and experience at first-hand how the BRT system works.

Other members are Dr D.D. Darku, the acting Director of the Department of Urban Roads; Mr Godwin J. Brock, the Director, Policy and Planning, Ministry of Roads and Highways; Mrs Josephine Manu, a legal officer; Mr Kwadwo Antwi, Communications Specialist; Mr David Quist of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and two representatives of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and the Ghana Road Transport Co-, coordinating Council (GRTC) , the two major transport unions in the country.

The delegation had already studied the system in London, United Kingdom, where they observed the way dedicated lanes were reserved for special buses to carry passengers faster to their destinations. The BRT system, which is more affordable and flexible, also ensures that passengers reach their destinations on time, helps reduce emissions into the atmosphere, and as well reduces accidents on the roads.
Mr Londono said the time had come for meaning to be given to the concept of South-South co-operation and noted that unless countries within that sphere helped each other, the idea of South-South co-operation would remain a myth.

He said, Colombia had perfected the BRT system and that had made life more meaningful to the people and also enhanced productivity because workers did not have to wait long hours in traffic before they went to work.

"The fact that your President sent you all the way from Ghana to Colombia to study our system is a show of commitment on the part of your government to implement the system and we are grateful for that,” he said.

Mr Gidisu expressed gratitude to the Colombian government and Mr Londono and noted that "we cannot wait anymore but to ensure that this system is implemented in Ghana.”

He said the selection of Colombia as part of the countries to study the system was not by default but as a result of the confidence and trust the Ghanaian, government had in the BRT system in Colombia.

Mr Gidisu said the delegation would welcome the assistance from the Colombian government and indicated strongly that proposals would follow soon after the arrival of the delegation back home in Ghana.

Earlier in the day, the minister and his delegation had experienced the BRT system in Bogota by, plying many routes within Bogota.

He mentioned the quality of the dedicated bus lanes, the special bus terminals fitted with security cameras, pay points for tickets and the construction of state-of-the-art pedestrian walkways as infrastructure that had added to the beauty and landscaping of Bogota.

Source: Daily Graphic
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