Drivers Adjust To New Fares

Most drivers plying various routes in and around Accra are yet to charge the new transportation fares announced by the Road Transport Operators (RTO) to take effect from Thursday, December 29. The new fares followed increases in petroleum products by the National Petroleum Authority on Wednesday between 15 -30 per cent, after government withdrew subsidies on petroleum products. A statement issued in Accra by the RTO said drivers plying long distances had to adjust their fares with 15 pesewas increase, trotro drivers by five pesewas while cabs are to charge based on kilometres. A visit by Ghana News Agency (GNA) to selected lorry terminals in Accra Metropolis revealed that there was no confusion among passengers and drivers since most drives are still charging the existing fares. Drivers plying Sowutoum to Kaneshie charged 60 pesewas and Kaneshie to Tema Station 45 pesewas in the morning. However, few drivers including those plying Teshie to Accra and Odorkor to Ministries (Taxi) increased their fares based on the new announced prices. Some commercial drivers told GNA that the increment in transport fares whenever fuel prices were increased, was not only determined by the new fuel prices, but other inputs such as prices of vehicle spare parts, which led to high cost of maintenance of their vehicles. “I wonder why people concentrate so much on transport fares and not on the high cost of spare parts when prices of petroleum products are increased,” said a driver. Drivers at Ghana Private Road Transport Union New Town Branch in Accra (GPRTU), told GNA that it was important for the public to know that commercial drivers charged new fares, not only based on the rise in fuel prices, but the corresponding rise in the cost of vehicle spare parts. “Once they know this, they would understand when we increase our fares beyond what they thought we would,” said another driver. They contended that within Greater Accra Region, approved fares being charged by transport operators could change with time, depending on when leadership of the Greater Accra Regional GPRTU release newly approved fares. On how passengers were coping with the new fares, a driver said: “Everybody is aware of the upward adjustment in petroleum products therefore, they are not complaining.” Mr Haruna Mahama, Secretary of Accra Branch Number Two of GPRTU, said: “This is just a day after the fuel price increase. We are not encountering any problem so far. Let us wait and see how things go in the next few days.” Mr Matthew Hayford, Chairman of Ghana Road Transport Co-ordinating Council, cautioned against arbitrary fares, saying all must abide by the agreed 18 per cent fare adjustment.