The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has defended its decision to increase transport fares by 10 per cent but blamed government for allowing consistent increment in fuel prices, which influenced the current increment.
Transport fares were increased by 10 per cent on June 4, across the country; Mr Hope Ahiamadzie, Chairman of the Accra New Town Branch of GPRTU at the Tema Station told Ghana News Agency in an interview that, the Union went ahead with the increment after the government failed to act on several petitions.
“We had appealed to Government in regard to the increase in fuel prices and other issues of concerns for drivers. The fuel alone is not the issue, spare parts are also expensive. The fuel alone cannot move a car.
“It needs the parts to move, we have to maintain the parts, we have to maintain and repair the car, pay income tax, road worthiness, Insurance and also pay to Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) tax,” Mr Ahiamadzie stated.
Mr Ahiamaadzie explained that the GPRTU was considerate in arriving at only 10 per cent increment; “we are not satisfied with the amount, but we have to also consider the plight of passengers”.
Mr Emmanuel Adjei Mensah, a driver at the Korle-Bu-Mamprobi GPRTU Branch at Tema Station, explained that the GPRTU were supposed to have reviewed the fares every six months, but over a year now it had failed to increase it even though fuel prices were increased every two-weeks.
He also said the Union had sent several petitions to government with a small section of the drivers at point threatening to go on strike, but nothing was done about it, and as business entity we cannot continue to bear the cost of the high fuel prices.
He however admitted that the increment had brought misunderstanding between the drivers and some passengers due to the short notice.
Mr Addae Brown, a passenger said; “I previously paid GH¢3.80 from Tema Station in Accra to Spintex, but now I am paying GH¢4.00. When I got here the drivers explained why and since it is just 20 pesewas increment I am okay as far as it doesn’t go beyond that”.
Ms Edna Boateng, another passenger said that, “I saw the news on the television, so I already calculated and prepared for it. I used to pay GH¢2.30 but now I am paying GH¢2.60 pesewas.
“When I calculated the fare, I was supposed to pay GH¢2.53 pesewas but the mate rounded up the fare to GH¢2.60. Some passengers were angry with the increment, but for me it is okay if it’s reasonable. It should not be an extortion.”
Mr Charles Amakpa, a driver at Ho Station, in Accra in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said, after making his daily sales, he earned little or nothing and that with the current increase, he did not know what would happen.
Mr Obed Koku Agbota, an Accra to Ho driver, said ‘trotro’ buses with air-conditioners charged differently from the buses without air-conditioner, adding that the new fares currently stood at GH¢23.00 and GH¢22.00 respectively.
Madam Aku Doku, a passenger, said even though there had been an increase in fares, some drivers were taking advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant fares above the percentage decided by GPRTU which was worrying and therefore called on government to intervene.
However, some drivers plying Kasoa to Kaneshie were charging GH¢2.80 against the previous fare of GH¢2.50 and Kasoa to Circle now charging GH¢4.00 against the preceding fare of GH¢3.70.