Some citizens have shown support for the Ghana Public Road Transport Union (GPRTU) following its indication to increase transport fares due to the hike in fuel prices.
Speaking with The Vaultz News, a customer service representative with Keed Ghana, Hummu Abubakar, intimated that she fully supports the proposed increment of transport fares. She stated that looking at the current economic situation, it is right for the Union to propose an increment.
According to Hummu Abubakar, there has been a massive increment in fuel prices and as such, if the fares are not increased it will affect the drivers as well. “Drivers will definitely be at a disadvantage because it will affect their sales.”
Ms. Abubakar suggested that one major thing government has to put in place is to initiate clear and effective petroleum pricing measures to ensure that the prices of petroleum products wouldn’t be on the constant rise to prevent the massive increase in the fare prices.
Also sharing his view, an Uber driver, Nii Kpakpa, intimated that he supports the proposed increment in the transport fares. He averred that since fuel prices have increased, it also demands an increase in transport fares. “For that reason, GPRTU has no option but to increase transportation fares.”
Nii Kpakpa was of the view that the drivers are being reasonable in their demand to increase transportation fares. He explained that the drivers have to pay a lot more at the fuel pump than they use to and if these prices are not increased, then the drivers are going to bear that economic burden alone. “So, for that reason, transportation fares have to be increased.”
Mr. Kpakpa suggested to government to help out in the current situation by subsidizing fuel prices considering how difficult things have become globally with Ghana not being an exception. “Government can help do this by cutting down on all these unnecessary expenditure so that some of these funds can go into all these subsidies.”
GPRTU being smart with fares
A Research Assistant at the University of Cape Coast, Manuel Mensah, was however, of the view that GPRTU is being smart because when fuel prices go down, they never decrease their prices but the moment fuel prices start going up, they start considering increasing fares. “For me they are cheats because you don’t run an economy as if you’re the only one suffering.”
Manuel intimated that when transport fares become expensive, commodities become expensive then it becomes a cycle. “If they’re charging GHS3 because fuel prices have increased to GHS5 and the fuel reduces to GHS4, they still charge GHS3. It doesn’t make sense.”
Manuel Mensah averred that although he doesn’t support it, the increment as suggested by the drivers can take place so that when the people suffer, it will give government the notice to revive the public bus transit initiative that has not been in the system for a while. He explained that if an important aspect of the economy, which is transport, is in the hands of private individuals, this is what the nation experiences.
According to Manuel Mensah, if government “stands on its feet” and handles the transport system, the issue of consistent increase or change in fares will not take place. He urged government to ensure the enforcement and the use of the bus transit. “There are a lot of Ayalolo buses packed, not being used. Go to circle and see, you’ll see trotro’s loading at where these buses are supposed to be loading.”
According to Mr. Edmund Coffie, an accountant with a financial institution, drivers considering increasing their fares is in the right direction because they have a target to meet. To him, some of the drivers have their sales for their masters, so, if the little margin they make on these fares are used to buy fuel, which has been galloping, they can’t use that small margin to more or less meet their target for the day and for the week. “So, if they are suggesting that they need to increase it again to also meet their margins, I believe they are right.”
Mr. Coffie suggested that government needs to sit down with GPRTU and meet them half way, if government wants to help cushion the citizens by preventing the fares from being increased and help ease the cost on the drivers. According to him, the best option is for them to look at it by reducing some of the taxes on the fuel so that it will be stable at least.
“When the fuel prices are stable, the drivers will not even suggest the fare increment. So, as long as the fuel price is rising, there’s definitely going to be an increment in fares.” citizensEdmund Coffie
Edmund Coffie also suggested that if government cannot take the taxes off the petroleum products, it can support the OMCs to more or less augment them in a way that fuel prices will be stable even if the world market price is high.“I think that’s the best way we can deal with this issue if not, there’s nothing that can be done”
The Ghana Public Road Transport Union (GPRTU), over the past week disclosed its intentions of increasing transport fares should government not bring a solution to the galloping fuel prices. The Union gave government some days to come up with a solution or threatened to go ahead and increase fares.