Kintampo accident: Driver was one of the best in Kumasi

It has emerged that the driver of the Bolgatanga-bound Metro Mass Transit bus involved in the accident that has so far claimed 71 lives, was one of the best drivers in Kumasi for the State-run transport company.

According to the company, the bus was also fault-free when it set off from the Kumasi depot on Wednesday with a total of 63 passengers, as per the waybill covering the bus.This is in sharp contrast to reports that the bus was overloaded.

The Traffic Officer at MMT in Kumasi, Robert Berko, told Accra-based Joy FM Friday that the driver, who also perished in the accident that occurred in Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region, has worked with the company for not less than four years.

“As I know him personally, this particular driver is one of our best drivers Kumasi can boast of. He’s been with the company for some years,” Mr Berko said.

The accident happened at about 8:00pm at a spot few metres away from the Kintampo town killing several passengers instantly and several others with serious injuries. The death toll has since risen to 71.

They were claims that the accident was caused by a brake failure. Some passengers are said to have told the Police that the driver made a stop at a mechanic shop in Tamale to check the faulty break before continuing the journey.

No stops made by the driver

But Mr Berko said one of the passengers on board the bus who he spoke to on Thursday at the Kintampo Hospital denied the said claims.

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“Unfortunately we don’t have that report that the bus stopped at Techiman,” he said, adding “We have a point at Techiman but the bus did not stop there because it’s got nothing to do at our point.”

“I also spoke to one survivor. I asked him did the bus stop any point in time along their journey and he said no…The driver did not make any attempt whatsoever on the way…whatever is circulating that they said he stopped to work on the break, no.”

Faults on the road

He indicated that under no circumstance should any of their drivers get a mechanic other than MMT mechanics to check any of their cars wherever it develops a fault, since that is against protocol, adding that their drivers “are well-trained drivers and not mechanics to work on their buses”.

Mr Berko noted that the bus had no scheduled drop offs and pickups between  Kumasi and Kintampo where the accident happened, saying “the bus was scheduled from Kumasi to Bolgatanga. The only stop over are the rest stops.”

Explaining MMT’s policy on the measures drivers ought to take in the event of any breakdown during a journey, he said there are depots dotted along all their routes and whenever there is a fault, a driver is required to call the nearest depot for mechanics to be dispatched to the scene.

He said where the fault could be fixed, it is done instantly for the bus to continue its journey except in situations where it might not be possible, and that in such situations, another bus is released from the nearest depot to get passengers to their final destination.

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“I don’t have any record of any fault that occurred on the bus. We weren’t informed of any fault en route to Bolgatanga. The only thing we heard was the unfortunate accident,” he noted.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana

Twitter @steviekgh