Driver-passenger chit-chat … as transport fares are reduced by 10% starting August 1

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In a confirmation earlier this week by National Chairman of the GPRTU, Mr. Kwame Kumah, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has reduced transport fares by 10% effective this weekend, August 1, 2020.

In collaboration with other stakeholders to announce and give an update on a reduction in transport fares this weekend, Mr Kumah said: “Drivers who outrageously charge their own fares are warned”.

He further specified that police will arrest drivers who fail to comply with safety protocols.

Commercial transport owners, for about five months, have not been filling their vehicles to full capacity and that has affected their sales – causing family and domestic issues, and fuel prices have also seen an increase.

According to some drivers and conductors B&FT reached out to at some few lorry stations, in their grievances they’re of the view that with the reduction of passenger-intake for every vehicle, and fuel was increased about twice, government must address the issue of reducing fuel-cost as well – so it can balance the loss of full passenger seating in public transport vehicles.

Some passengers are of the view that due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the transport fares should remain at the increased rate – while the reduced seating arrangements President Akufo-Addo directed far earlier during the lockdown should remain to help control the pandemic.

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) has also called on commercial transport operators to, with immediate effect, reduce transport fares which were increased last month per an earlier meeting held with the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah.

COPEC’s call comes on the back of President Akufo-Addo’s announcement in his 14th COVID-19 address that “commercial buses and taxis are to load at full capacity”, and they also charged the GPRTU, Concerned Drivers Association, Committed Drivers Association and the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council to immediately hold a meeting and reverse the decision to increase fares.

A statement by COPEC explained that the president’s directive means revenue that was being lost by commercial drivers will be restored, hence the need to reduce transport fares.

“What this directive means is that every revenue that until date had been lost per trip by commercial transport operators before the announcement during the period, and for which commuters have recently been forced to cough-up an additional 15-30% in transport fare increase, is now restored in favour of our commercial transport operators; and thus the recent increases of between 15-30% should and must be reversed forthwith.”

In a related development, it has been suggested that all commercial passenger-carrying vehicles must display the official GPRTU rates in a window next to their entrance – so that passengers will not get into altercations with driver’s mates, and police can check if they are displaying the rates as mandated when they check for tax and other vehicle requirements.

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