Some commercial drivers in Accra are not happy with the 13% increment in transport fares.
The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) announced a 13 percent increment in transport fares effective Saturday, June 5, 2021.
The new fares will cover intercity ‘trotro’ vehicles, intercity long-distance vehicles and shared taxis.
But interactions with these commercial drivers suggest that they are unhappy with the increment as they are demanding more.
Most of them who spoke to Citi Business News at Tema station in Accra demanded a further increase, attributing their demand on the rate at which fuel prices keep increasing.
Anthony Kilabi, a taxi driver, said, “The 13 percent increase is okay just because it will prevent confusion in the country. But when there’s another increase in fuel price, the transport fares should also be increased right away.”
Another taxi driver, Dominic Frimpong, added that “We do not like the 13 percent increase in fares because the fuel prices have been increased so much. So there has to be a further increase, so we can also benefit”.
“The fuel prices have seen a constant increase for some time now. But the transport fares were never increased. Now that it has been increased, it’s not enough. At least it should have seen 15 or 20 percent rise to cover all the cost we’ve been incurring,” Isaac Amoah, a trotro driver lamented.
The GPRTU Secretary at the Aburi station also noted that “the increase does not help us. The prices of everything have been increased. And the drivers have been complaining. All our daily sales go into buying fuel, and we cannot take anything home. It’s even possible the price of fuel will increase within a week, but the transport fares will remain the same. So the 13 percent increase is not favouring us.”
Citi Business News further spoke to some passengers at the station, who expressed their displeasure with the increase.
Gladys Boakye, a trader, complained bitterly.
She said, “The authorities should reduce the percentage. If they want to increase it that much, then the government should create an avenue for the circulation of money in the system to help reduce the cost of living. If that is done, we wouldn’t complain about increase in transport fares. Because we are really suffering.”
A student, Eudocea Dordunu stressed, “The increment is too much. What if someone has already budgeted his or her allowance? If they are increasing this, then they should also increase salaries so that everyone’s living will be better.”
Fuel prices in the country have experienced some increases since the beginning of the year, sparking fears that consumers may end the year paying an all-time high rate per litre of diesel and petrol.
This situation is one of the reasons that influenced the decision to increase transport fares to alleviate the plight of commercial drivers who have had to buy costlier fuel while charging the same fares.
The recent increases, which came about as a result of a number of factors including the introduction of some new taxes and levies as well increases to some existing ones, led some commercial drivers to demand for an increase in fares, with some private transport operators in the country threatening to increase fares by 20 percent.
But the General Secretary of GPRTU, Godfred Abulbire, explained to Citi Business News, the factors that went into the 13 percent increment.
He said: “If we wanted to rely only on the fuel component, we should not be asking for lorry fares more than five or eight percent to be adjusted on fares. But the fact is that we had asked the sector ministry to consider the spare parts, lubricants, and even the payment of salaries to our drivers and other fees so that we’ll be given about 15 percent. We dialogued and finally agreed on 13 percent. We think that will be much appreciated by our members.”
He further urged the public to report any commercial driver who might want to take advantage of ignorant passengers and charge more than the agreed percentage.
“We would encourage the public that when they are being charged more than the right figure, they should take note of the car or the particular terminal when they went and boarded the car and report to us. We’ll take some serious action in that.”