15% hike in transport fares to kick-off Saturday …. but GPRTU unhappy, wanted 50% increment

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The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) is expected to release new transport fares this Saturday, after the Ministry of Transport approved a 15 percent hike in fares across the board. The decision was arrived at after a meeting between the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC), GPRTU, the ministry and other stakeholders.

The GPRTU was pushing for a 50 percent increase, as the implementation of the social distancing protocols and fuel hikes have increased the cost of doing business and shrunk profits. The fares, according to the Ministry of Transport, is to cater for the losses being made as result of implementing the social distancing protocols. It covers intra-city (trotro), intercity (long distance), truck operators and all other transports delivery services including taxis.

“The unions brought a petition to the ministry and it was carefully scrutinized, after which the ministry and all stakeholders present at the meeting agreed a 15 percent increase in transport fares across the board.

“It is obvious that transport operators have sacrificed to ensure that the nation fights COVID-19, and therefore the state also has to put in some measures to ensure they are not worse-off while they continue to ensure social distancing in their vehicles and invest in getting PPE, sanitisers and handwashing materials at the stations to help fight COVID-19.

“The decision will take effect this coming Saturday, July 11. We are going to ensure that all the COVID-19 protocols are still practiced at all transport station across the country. Just as is done anytime there is an increase like this, authorities at the station have been asked to print the new rate and paste it at the various stations – and also in cars to prevent any argument,” the Deputy Transport Minister, Daniel Titus Glover, told journalists in parliament.

But the GPRTU is not happy with the increment, with its leadership noting that fuel prices since beginning of the year have gone up by over 15 percent – a move that has reduced their margins, but this was not factored into the increase.

“This is to cover COVID-19 protocols. The ministry did not factor the hike in fuel prices and increased cost of spare-parts and other material we use in our business. We are waiting for this to simmer and we will go to them again to ensure that we get the right percentage increase,” the Industrial Relations Officer for GPRTU in the Greater Accra Region, Abass Moro Ibrahim, told the B&FT in an interview.

He added: “We were asking for a 50 percent increase in fares, with all the economic and social developments factored into it; but we did not get what we asked for. What we have been given is also small, but we will hold onto it and make a case as soon as possible”.

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