Urban Ghana has poor access to jobs, healthcare due to lack of public transport: Report

World Bank report calls for strengthening public transport system in Accra, the capital city and other metropolitan cities in Ghana

By Madhumita Paul
Published: Friday 11 June 2021
A trotro in Accra. Photo: Wikipedia

Residents of Ghana’s three major cities have poorer access to jobs and healthcare facilities due to the lack of a public transport system in the country, a World Bank report has highlighted.

The document also called on Ghana to address the problem by developing an integrated approach to address mobility and accessibility.

The report analysed the transportation system in three big cities of the country — capital Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. The analysis was done on the basis of three A’s — accessibility, affordability and acceptability.

The report found that 48 per cent of Accra and two-thirds of Kumasi’s residents were not able to access more than 50 per cent of their respective city’s jobs within one hour using public transport.

Urban Ghana’s residents were not able to access healthcare services properly. Some 26 per cent of urban Ghanaians did not have reliable transport to go to health facilities according to the Ghana National Transport Survey of 2012.

In Kumasi, local access to hospitals by public transport was significantly worse for low-income individuals.

Public transport was highly unaffordable for most of the households in Accra and Kumasi, the report found. Women and differently-abled people faced greater challenges in affording public transport as compared to men.

People also did not accept public transport because of fear, low tolerance, physical barriers to movement and social norms.

There was hardly any investment towards creating a formal public transport system in Ghana’s urban areas. Only a limited number of formal large bus operations existed in Ghanaian cities. The majority of public passenger transport was operated by the informal private sector.

People in all three cities walked to jobs, markets and schools. In Accra and Kumasi, minibuses — known locally as ‘tro-tros’ were used to access jobs. They represented nearly 60 per cent of motorised trips to jobs in Accra and about 40 percent in Kumasi. In Tamale, there were more bicycles and motorcycles.

The report said mobility in the urban areas of Ghana had been further affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The report made three recommendations:

  • Strengthen the institutional and operational framework of urban mobility
  • Develop an integrated approach to address mobility and accessibility
  • Respond and adapt to COVID-19

The report, titled Connecting the dots: people, jobs, and social services in urban Ghana was published June 9, 2021.

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