Thursday, 3 October 2013

Revise The AMA's Hard-To-Fathom Edict On Accra's Taxis

I am yet to meet an official from the city authorities,  who can explain and  justify the new Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) taxi regulations - from a human rights perspective.

Many taxi drivers in Accra seem to feel the new AMA regulations are an imposition - and an abuse of basic rights guaranteed them under  the constitution of Ghana.

From my perspective, if it really is true that as a result of those new AMA regulations for taxis,  it will now be virtually impossible for someone to  hail a taxi from Kasoa Amanfro, for example,  and be dropped off at  the centre of Accra by that selfsame taxi, then that is clearly untenable.

If, in practice,  as a result of those new AMA regulations,  a city-centre-bound passenger from Kasoa Amanfro will now have to take a series of taxi rides -  changing taxis at imaginary borders,  beyond which the various taxis he or she will now have to hail,  cannot traverse - then   something is seriously wrong with those  new AMA regulations governing the operations of  taxis in the capital:  and  the sooner those hard-to-fathom regulations are scrapped, the better it would  be for the AMA,   and, above all,  the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mahama, which is bound to  get all the flack from  this odd edict.

Why make life difficult for ordinary people with such curious  regulations, I ask?

Why court such needless  controversy for absolutely no political gain in return - and create an avoidable PR disaster for a government trying hard to rebalance the economy at such great cost to itself politically?

The bottom line, is that the ability  to hail a taxi cab from any point in Accra, and be dropped off at  one's chosen destination anywhere in the capital, must not be restricted by regulations of any kind.

Anything to the contrary would amount to  infringing on the  basic rights  of Ghanaians who drive taxis in Accra and those who use their services -  the freedom  to go about their lawful business peacefully without let or hindrance.

The AMA must aim to be a more business-friendly local government establishment - not one that engages in  needless restriction of business for Accra's  hard-pressed entrepreneurs, including the city's hapless taxi operators.

Yes,  let the AMA register taxi cabs in the city of Accra as a revenue-raising measure,  if current circumstances force it to.

However, it must not restrict the city's taxis to operating only within the boundaries of particular areas in the city.

When a taxi picks a fare anywhere in Accra, the driver ought to  be allowed to drop the passenger off,  in any part of the city that that particular passenger wants to be taken to.

The AMA's new edict on taxis is hard to fathom - and must be  quickly revised in consultation with the city's taxi operators. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

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