Transport operators across the country say they can no longer cope with the March 2020 directive by government, ordering private and commercial cars to reduce passenger numbers in line with social distancing protocols aimed at managing the spread of COVID-19.
The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), one of the biggest transport unions in the country has called on government to either revert the directive or increase transport fares.
According to the Vice Chairman of GPRTU, Robert Sarbah, commercial drivers over the period have sacrificed enough and cannot continue dealing with the effects of the directive on their business.
Interacting with some transport operators at the 37 Lorry Station in Accra, they told GhanaWeb the effects of the directive on their revenue and why they seek government's intervention.
“We have been managing with the reduction in passengers but overtime there has been an increase in fuel prices. If government can reduce the prices of fuel we can stick to the reduction in passengers,” a driver said.
Lamenting the increase in fuel prices which the drivers say has compounded the effects of their revenue loss, another driver said “When the pandemic started, fuel prices were reduced at the time when we were directed to reduce passengers. But now the fuel price has been increased and nothing has been done about fares whiles we are still mandated to take reduced numbers. We are therefore pleading with government to either increase fares or reduce the fuel prices for us.”
“They should allow us to pick the number of passengers that we used to. I am a mate (conductor) and sometimes I am paid GHC10 or GHC7 a day. But before the directive I was making around GHC50 a day. So the directive has really affected us and we wish something is done about it,” a conductor also said.
In a unified plea, the drivers are calling on government to choose between three options which they say will go a long way to help them offset the revenue losses that they have incurred over the period.
1. Directs an increase in transport fares.
2. Cause a decrease in fuel prices.
3. Reverse the social distancing directive.