September 20, 2020

GPRTU to petition Transport Ministry for an increase in fares due to social distancing

The Ghana Private Road Transport Union, GPRTU, says it will petition the Presidency through the Ministry of Transport, for an upward review in transport fares to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the operations of members.

The appeal follows demands by drivers for fares to be adjusted to cater for the revenue losses due to reduced passenger numbers in compliance with social distancing protocols.

It’s been nearly three months since this policy was introduced to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Already, some drivers who ply the Tarkwa-Takoradi route have increased their fares since Monday, June 29, 2020.

The drivers demanded an increase of about 30% in fares.

Also, some drivers who operate at the Neoplan station in Accra have appealed for an increase in fares to enable them stay in business.

But the National Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, Kwame Kumah, told Citi Business News they will await a response from government before a nationwide increase in fares.

“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 is either we are made to take the original numbers or increase fares,” he remarked.

On the percentage of increase they are seeking, Mr. Kumah said the union will rather allow the authorities negotiate and determine a figure.

“For the margin of increase, we are not too sure for now since this situation is different from how we would have calculated increment if it had been triggered by increase in fuel prices,” he added.

The Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, COPEC, Duncan Amoah, has told Business News that government must consider providing a stimulus package for public transport operators if it seeks to prevent increases in transport fares.

“If you look at the kind of numbers they are operating with currently, it is problematic as they have to go and pay for sales, fuel and spare parts among others. We are not in normal times, so we are calling on government to as a matter of urgency put in place some subsidy program for these commercial transport operators. Either we reduce the taxes on fuel for them alone or we find a way to identify unions and give them some targeted subsidies so that every driver can at least have some minimum amounts to augment their fuel purchases and spare parts,” he said.

Source: Business