Increasing motorisation and its resultant effects such as congestion and pollution has underscored the need for a shift towards the use of more sustainable modes of transport such as public transport. Worsening traffic congestion and air quality have been associated with the proliferation of informal operation of private microbus and minibus in most African cities, of which Accra is no exception. It is recognised that large buses hold the promise of relieving the growing congestion of African cities if they are managed efficiently and sustainably. The Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT) was established in response to public concerns about increasing traffic congestion and transport fares posed mostly taxis and minibuses which dominate public transport in Ghana. The establishment of the company was also to bring instant relief to travellers especially in Metropolitan and Municipal areas by promoting mass transportation. However, over a decade after its establishment and its provision of intra-city bus services, it is recognised that mini-bus (trotro) is still the most preferred mode for trips in major cities of the country such as Accra, while the MMT has the least modal share among public transport modes. It is against this backdrop that this study sought to explain why commuters in Accra do not prefer to use public bus transport service for intra-city commuting. A revealed preference survey was administered to 134 commuters in Accra to find out their perception of the level of service delivery of MMT and the reasons behind their non-preference of its service. A semi-structured interview guide was also used to collect information from the MMT as a services provider. Data was analysed and interpreted using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), employing both descriptive and inferential statistics such as independent sample tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The study revealed that indeed, mini-buses are still the most frequently used mode of transport in the city of Accra. Commuters perceived that MMT’s service delivery was poor in their of travel time, accessibility, comfort, reliability and to a lesser aesthetics in terms of vehicle and waiting area cleanliness. Contrastingly, there is a general consensus among commuters that MMT’s service delivery in terms of fares were excellent, offering a fare 20 percent cheaper than other mode. The study further revealed that the main reasons why commuters did not patronise MMT’s service lied in the over-crowded of bus, the nonadherence to time schedule, long in-vehicle time, and the perception of not getting access to a seat, the non-availability of the bus at respondents’ origins and destinations, accessibility of alternative modes, long waiting times for the bus; all of which are reflected in the commuters poor perception of MMT.. It is recommended that for MMT to increase its modal share, it should firstly improve on travel time especially in-vehicle time and waiting time at stations, comfort on buses in terms of seat access, crowding and noise level, reliability and accessibility since these are important considerations to its choice as a primary intra-city among commuters. It is also recommended that review its pricing system to enable it delivery the required level of service expected by commuters. With this it is further recommended that MMT conducts a willingness to pay for improved service delivery among commuters. Implementing these would contribute to achieving the objective of promoting mass transit in Accra by shifting people from the use of unsustainable modes such as mini-buses and taxis to the use of efficient high capacity systems as MMT.

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Sharma, S.
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Birago, D. (2014, September). Level of service delivery of public transport and mode choice in Accra, Ghana.. Retrieved from