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UEW Researchers Engage GPRTU to Improve Disability-Inclusive Transport

A team of researchers from the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) has held a stakeholder meeting with station leaders of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) to elicit their input on the best ways to remove barriers to a disability-inclusive transport system in Ghana.  

The research team is undertaking a project titled "Removing Barriers to Disability-Inclusive Transport Systems (Policies and Regulations) in Accra and Nairobi". The project is dubbed SITUATE-2 and seeks to find viable remedies to the barriers the scholars identified in SITUATE-1, which focused on the policy and practice agenda for a disability-inclusive urban transport system in Accra and Nairobi.

Dr. Prince Kwame Odame

In a presentation made on behalf of the team, Dr. Prince Kwame Odame, a lecturer at the Department of Geography Education, UEW, revealed that the main challenges persons with disabilities raised during their interactions bothered the quality of public transport buses, the quality of terminals, and the attitudes of some transport operators.

He disclosed the team’s resolve to hold training workshops for drivers and conductors on inclusive service delivery, terminal parking arrangements, creating signage for priority seats and destinations, and installing push bells and boarding platforms.

Dr. Peter Obeng-Asamoa

The Executive Director of the Ghana Blind Union, Dr. Peter Obeng-Asamoa, shared his lived experiences using public transport in Ghana. He implored transportation providers to arrange the vehicles better at the truck terminal so that buses and their destinations could be seen easily.  

"We suggest you provide parking for every vehicle. To assist the deaf among us, we advise you to post signboards identifying the whereabouts of the vehicles. Endeavour to make the station's hostile terrain better. Most of the stations are congested, which makes it difficult for us to find buses with ease. Additionally, let's strive to improve the waiting area by constructing a shelter to keep people safe when it starts to rain. Once more, try to designate areas for people with rumps rather than staircases for persons with impairment," he asserted.

Dr. Obeng-Asamoa entreated transport operators to consider the issue of reserved seats for persons with disabilities. He challenged the research team to devise strategies to help the deaf know where to alight, as the conductors' mentioning of locations does not help most cases. He advocated for regular interaction with the Federation of Disability Organisations to help make the various GPRTU stations more accessible to people with disabilities.

Prof. Samuel Abeiku Hayford

A professor of Special Education at UEW and a member of the team, Prof. Samuel Abeiku Hayford, beseeched the station leaders to equip drivers with the tools to improve their attitudes towards persons with disabilities. He emphasised the importance of having empathy for those who have special needs and of providing them with an accessible transport system.

The project lead, Prof. Enoch F. Sam, thanked the station union leaders for their time.

Prof. Enoch F. Sam

"What has transpired here demonstrates that we are partners in this project. We shall approach your office from time to time to interact with you and look at the way forward to make this project a success," he said.

Other members of the research project are Prof. Esther Yeboah Danso-Wiredu and Dr. Adams Osman, both lecturers at the Department of Geography Education.   

© 2019 University of Education, Winneba