It has emerged that commercial drivers are charging fares higher than the 15% percent increment the government has approved following engagements with the driver unions.
3news.com gathers some fares have been increased by up to 46% in some instances.
On July 5, the Concerned Drivers Association (made up of the various driver unions including GPRTU and PROTOA) held a press conference and announced they were going to increase fares by 30% due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business and the increases in fuel prices.
On Monday July 6, some of the drivers started charging the 30% increment even without approval from either government or the driver unions.
Government announces 15% increment
On the morning of July 7, Deputy Transport Minister, Titus Glover, said the new fares charged by the drivers were illegal and that his ministry was going to engage with the drivers later that day to deliberate on their concerns, which were: either they’re allowed to load full buses without regard for social distancing or increase the fares by 30%.
Later that day, Mr. Glover came back to announces government had reached an agreement with the concerned drivers and had approved 15% increment in lorry fares effective Saturday, July 11.
“We have all agreed that the indeed the drivers have helped in observing the Covid-19 protocols. It is for this reason that we have agreed to increase the fares.
“This cuts across board, taxis, trotros, long distance vehicles and cargo trucks. It takes effect from Saturday, July 11, 2020,” Mr Glover said.
By Friday evening, the GPRTU released the new pricing list reflecting the approved 15% increment and requested all driver to post the new fares in their vehicles.
Trotro drivers charging more than the approved fare
It turned out the fares the drivers posted in their vehicles and charged passengers are more than the approved 15%.
A list of the new fares sighted by 3news.com in some of the commercial vehicles show for instance that the fare from Madina – Accra has been increased from 3.3 to 4, a 21% increment. The fare from Madina – 37 has been increased from 2.2 to 3, a 36% increment and that of Madina to Flagstaff House has been increased from 2.4 to 3.5, a 46% increment.
A careful look at the list does not only show that the drivers are charging more that the approved fares but also shows a patent inconsistency in the percentage increase.
For instance, they have increased the Madina-Accra by 21%, Madina-Flagstaff House by 46% and Madina-37 by some 36%.
GPRTU and Concerned Drivers Association react
Reacting to the concerns, Chairman of the GPRTU, Kwame Kumah, said his office sent a communique to all drivers directing them to comply with the 15% increment and that a taskforce would later be deployed to ensure compliance if drivers continue to disregard same.
But the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Concerned Drivers Association, David Agboado, insists they did not agree with government on 15%.
According to him, they insisted on their 30% while GPRTU agreed to the 15% and that he said was what occasioned the confusion.
He added that even though they have sanctioned a 30% increment, they have received complaints that some drivers are charging more, a situation which they are trying to solve.
He hinted they intend calling a meeting of all driver unions on July 28 to reach a consensus on how to realign the fares. Mr.Agboado said they had earlier warned government that if it did not act quickly a confusion like the one seen of the streets would occasion.
The transport ministry is yet to speak to the issue.
Meanwhile, passengers have taken to social media to share their experiences with the implementation of the new fares.