The Managing Director of state transporter, STC, has attributed the dramatic increase in patronage to the strategic location of a terminal at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
According to Nana Akomea, the Intercity State Transport Corporation which previously struggled to make four trips to Kumasi, its main market, is now making an average of 18 trips daily to the Garden City barely a few months after securing a location at Nkrumah Circle.
The company since its establishment in the 1960s used to be the transport of choice for most travellers given the luxurious nature of their buses and the good safety record of the company.
However, following management challenges, the fortunes of the company dipped, leading to a private company taking over in 1999. Mr. Akomea recounted.
But the continual decline of the prospects of the company led the government to reclaim it in 2002. This did not improve the fortunes of the company either.
Explaining what had led to the recently improved patronage, especial to Kumasi, Mr. Akomea told Joy News on Thursday that the company tried to understand the transportation needs of their customers and monitored what their competitors were doing differently.
According to him, after a careful study of customer behaviour, they realized that even though most Ghanaians prefer ISTC because of its safety, the location of the state transport terminal was a disincentive for their clients.
Mr. Akomea said because most internal transportation terminates at Nkrumah Circle, their customers had to walk or travel an extra Kilometer with their luggage to patronize ISTC service which was located opposite the Awudome cemetery on the Korle-Bu Kaneshie road.
That was not all the challenges the company was grappling with. The booming private transportation sector had pitched camp in Kwame Nkrumah Circle with their luxurious buses.
This took the market from the state transport operator.
According to Mr. Akomea, it was the decision to move a terminal to the Nkrumah Circle for their trips to the Ashanti region that increased their patronage exponentially.
But the patronage in Accra was not commensurate with return trips from Kumasi because the problem which was fixed in Accra was not fixed in Kumasi.
The terminal in Adum, Kumasi, was far removed from the central business centre which is located in Asafo. When the company relocated its terminal to Asafo, it increased its trips as anticipated.
But these decisions were not without problems. Stiff opposition arose from the private transport operators who had previously dominated the market.
There was a turf war between STC and the VIP Transport Services at the Asafo terminal in Kumasi which led to chaos.
The fight led drivers and staff of VIP Transport Services to block STC buses from entering the terminal to inaugurate its operations within the yard.
The resultant chaos brought operations at the terminal to a standstill.
But Mr. Akumea said all disputes have been resolved and the company is going ahead to open terminals across the country including Madina, Kasoa and Amasaman.
A visit to ISTC yard will reveal that their buses move on schedule, luggage is weighed, tagged and secured at the basement of the bus.
Before travelling, one has a beautiful place of convenience to use and is given snacks and water for refreshment.
The drivers are adorned in STC branded uniforms; you get receipts for your cars if you park them on the STC yard before travelling.