The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers-Ghana (COPEC-Ghana) has called for the immediate reduction in transport fares, following the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions, especially concerning transportation.
Some passengers who believe that maintaining the current fares will amount to fleecing commuters have also added their voices to the call for transport fares to be reduced.
They explained that the reason that occasioned the increment in fares was no longer valid because of the government’s decision to lift some restrictions to allow buses to take their full complement of passengers.
The Executive Director of COPEC-Ghana, Mr Duncan Amoah, in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, said the chamber was ready to drag the various transport unions to court if they refused to reduce the fares by close of yesterday.
“It cannot be said that when it is time for fares to be increased, then they are in a hurry, but when it is time for a reduction, then they come up with excuses,” he said.
“Passengers have recently been forced to cough up an additional 15 to 30 per cent in transport fares and so we are hereby calling on stakeholders in the transport sector to ensure that fares are reversed to previous rates,” he added.
In separate interviews, the passengers said it was only reasonable that transport fares be reduced, as the social distancing protocol in public transport had been relaxed.
“With this new directive in place, we would like fares to be reduced to be fair to us passengers. This COVID-19 has brought about a lot of economic hardships and now we have to deal with increment in fares, without social distancing in ‘trotros’, which is not fair,” Dorcas Impraim, who was on board a trotro from Circle to Korle Bu, said.
The Station Master at the Biakoye Kaneshie Station, Mr Henry Amankwa, said a number of transport operators had approached him over the issue.
He alleged that most commuters were not in agreement with the new directive, as indicated by some drivers, who said passengers were complaining about the lack of social distancing in the vehicles.
“We prefer the old way of loading our buses; if we should go according to this new directive, it will not give us enough money because it takes a while for the buses to get full in this station and we want every driver to at least make some money,” Mr Amankwa said.
In his 14th address to the nation on measures taken against the spread of the COVID-19 last Sunday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said COVID-19 would remain part of the life of the people.
He said life could not be put on hold indefinitely because of the virus and, therefore, lifted the restrictions in some areas, including the transport sector where drivers were picking a limited number of passengers, in line with the social distancing protocol.