The national vice-chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Mr.Robert Sarbah is appealing to the transport minister to either revise the transportation fares or allow drivers to resume with the normal intake of passengers in a vehicle, as the policy is causing undue financial strain on them.
Speaking in an interview, the vice-chairman of the transport union said, “we think that we should appeal to the minister for us to pick the complete number of passengers so that we take maybe the old fare. In the absence of this, we cannot continue to be losing”.
The appeal follows demands by drivers for fares to be adjusted to cater for revenue loss due to a slash in passenger numbers, and in
compliance with social distancing protocol.
He argued that, drivers commuting from Kaneshie to Takoradi are experiencing the pain of loss as the stress of vehicle maintenance compounds the already dire situation of these drivers.
“We must petition the transport minister, our members are seriously agitating that they want to increase the lorry fare by themselves. We’ve been able to prevail upon them to suspend that in view of we getting a petition to the minister and see what the minister can do. We have given a timeline up to Wednesday, in case we do not hear anything, and we’ve done what we could do by also assisting to ensure that this COVID do not spread”.
He intimated that, the elimination of a passenger affects them in an enormous way, as the policy has changed everything.
He said, “we are greatly losing …the lorry fare came with the number of passengers that we were taking previously and the number has reduced, and therefore by simple calculation everybody will know that we are losing. We cannot break even and this is why we said we need to increase the lorry fare”.
Mr. Sarbah suggested however that, in the absence of an amelioration effort, drivers should be allowed to resume the normal intake of drivers despite the rising and prevalent cases of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, Kwame Kumah, in a separate interview said they will await a response from the government before a nationwide increase in fares.
He said, “we cannot do anything on our own, in terms of increasing transportation fares. That is why as a union, we have decided to present a petition to the Transport Ministry and subsequently to the Presidency for any further action. We are all aware of the impact of this pandemic on our businesses, so it either we are made to take the original numbers or increase fares”.
Further commenting on the percentage they envisage adding, the National Chairman for GPRTU said the union will allow the authorities to take it up.
“For the margin of increase, we are not too sure for now since the situation is different from how we would have calculated increment if it had been triggered by increase in fuel prices”.