Unlicensed commercial drivers in the Ashaiman Municipality are outwitting officers of the Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service by operating in the evenings, weekends and holidays.
The drivers, popularly known as ‘spare drivers’, have a hard time plying their trade during week days, as the MTTD officials are on the road to check, arrest and prosecute unlicensed drivers and other drivers flouting the law.
Most of these drivers mostly operate at Lebanon, Valco Flats and Zenu, all suburbs of Ashaiman, while others also ply Ashaiman traffic lights to Tema Community One.
A chat between the Ghana News Agency and these spare drivers revealed that most of them were yet to acquire a valid driving license as required by law.
They indicated that even though they were aware of the fact that they were perpetuating an illegality, they needed to work to gain more experience in driving, while making some money to obtain the requisite driver’s license.
Mr Frank Agyemang, an unlicensed commercial driver, told the GNA that they needed more experience on the job to enable them pass the written and practical tests to acquire the license. Mr Agyemang added that, their “masters” often give them the vehicles to work with during weekends, as the MTTD personnel would not be on the roads to carry out their checks, noting that “our masters do that to get us trained well before we gain the driver’s license.”
“Some of us too have the experience, but we don’t have the money to acquire the license, because of the cost involved, therefore, the need to work and save towards acquiring it,” he stated.
Mr Samuel Baoteng, a taxi driver, on his part, pleaded with the government and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to reduce the charges for the acquisition of a driver’s license, to enable the unlicensed drivers acquire one.
Mr Abu Assam, Secretary for the Ghana Private Road Transport Unit (GPRTU) Ashaiman Lebanon, Zenu and Atadeka station, responding to the issue, said activities of the unlicensed drivers were becoming a worrying trend in the Municipality, especially the station’s route.
Mr Assam added that such vehicles were not registered with the station, and operated as ‘floating trotros’, making it difficult for them to check their activities.
He said: “We, the station masters, don’t even allow someone without license to even park cars in here, how much more drive on the roads.”
He lamented that the activities of the unlicensed drivers, which were mostly characterised by careless driving, have dented the reputation of commercial drivers in the Municipality, as passengers could not differentiate between station and floating vehicles.
Mr. Assam expressed the wish for all commercial drivers to join the GPRTU to enable proper monitoring of their activities and put an end to the ‘spare drivers’ phenomenon, which put lives of passengers at risk.
He, however, added that his outfit would collaborate with other stakeholders to put in measures to curb the operations of unlicensed drivers in the area.
Madam Francisca, a passenger, appealed to the MTTD not to limit their spot checks to week-days, as people board vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers on weekends and holidays.