Confusion in road transport sector
There is confusion in the road transport sector as the 95 per cent increases in petroleum products in the country at the weekend has resulted in arbitrary increases in transport fares by the transport operators.
For instance, Peugeot drivers plying Accra to Koforidua have increased their fares from ?9,000 to ?18,000 while taxi fares from Circle to Dansoman has also been increased from ?1,500 to ?3,000. The fares from Accra to Aflao have shot up astronomically from ?13,000 to ?25,000.
At the Ashaiman main lorry station, vehicles which used to charge ?1,600 from Ashaiman to Kaneshie now take ?3,500, while Ashaiman to Circle which used to be ?1,400 is now ?3,000.
At the Community One lorry station, commuters between Tema and 37 have to pay between ?2,500 and ?2,800 instead of ?1,300 while taxis from Tema to Accra and Circle which charged ?5,000 now take 10,000 reports Naomi Chartey.
From Accra to Kumasi the Benz Buses charge between 16,000 and 25,000 instead of the ?12,000 and ?15,000. Ford Air-conditioned buses charge ?40,000 while Big Volvo buses charge ?52,000 instead of the ?25,000 and ?40,000 previously.At the Kaneshie Station, the fare from Accra to Cape Coast is ?12,000 instead of ?7,000 while ?20,000 is being charged for Takoradi instead of ?12,000. Peugeot fare to Takoradi is now ?35,000 instead of ?22,000.
The fare from Accra to Winneba has been increased from ?3,100 to ?6,000 while Accra to Swedru is now ?7,000 instead of 3,500.
Fares for STC buses have also been adjusted. From Accra to Aflao is now ?20,000 instead of ?15,000. Accra - Bawku ?75,000 instead of ?58,000, Accra - Cape Coast ?16,000 instead of ?12,000, Accra - Kumasi ?33,000 instead of ?25,000, Accra - Bolga ?72,000 instead of ?55,000, Accra - Ho ?16,000 instead of ?12,000, Accra - Paga ?74,000 instead of ?57,000, Accra - Sunyani ?36,000 instead of 28,000, Accra - Takoradi ?26,000 instead of ?20,000, Accra - Tamale ?62,000 instead of ?48,000 and Accra - Wa ?78,000 instead of ?60,000.
The increases in the prices of petroleum products and the arbitrary hike in transport fares have generated a lot of debate at drinking spots, lorry stations, entertainment joints and homes as people complain about the increases which they described as unbearable.Charles Benoni Okine reports that although people agree with increases in the prices of petroleum products, they said that ?15,000 would have been manageable because of its rippling effects on the people, particularly the ordinary Ghanaian.
In a random interview with a cross-section of the public, Mr Richard Okine, a teacher at the Mount Olivet Methodist Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, said the increases will seriously defeat the government?s poverty alleviation programme.
Mr Gerald Mensah of the University of Ghana, Legon, said the increase in Liquefied Petroleum Gas is most unfortunate as the fight against tree-felling for charcoal purposes will be defeated because those who are unable to afford the LPG will now opt for charcoal.
Emmanuel Tandoh reports that Ms Evelyn Manu, a civil servant in Accra is supportive of the government?s action. She intimated that it is essential for the government to take such bold decisions to defray the debt at TOR so as to save it from going bankrupt.
Mr Bernard Ofori, a teacher who disapproves of the increases, observed that January is a ?lean? month where most people struggle to pay their wards? school fees and therefore, described the more than 90 per cent increment of the fuel prices as suicidal.
Mr Vasco Tornyi, an accountant, said there is no justification for the increases as the government did not reduce the prices of fuel when it plummeted on the world market last year and called on the government to account to the public how it used the ?windfall?, reports Samuel Doe Ablordeppey. He also condemned the new policy to make vehicles which hitherto picked 19 passengers to now pick 15, saying drivers are taking undue advantage of the situation to exploit passengers.
A Ghanaian resident in Britain, Mr David Obeng on his part described the announcement by the government to increase the fleet of buses on the roads as one of the measures to alleviate the suffering of the people as most unfortunate, Asamoah Boahene reports. According to him, such a measure should have been put in place before the increases were announced.
Vida Ampofo reports that, the Estate Manager of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Mr Augustine Dayo said that the wide margin increases is certainly going to have an effect on utility bills, farm produce, school fees and indeed everything.
He stated that although the government has announced that it is importing a fleet of buses for mass transit system to ease the burden on workers, it should try as much as possible to make the buses operational and available in all parts of Accra.
A spare parts dealer, Mr Kwame Yeboah said Ghanaians will have to endure the bitter situation now for a better economic growth in future, reports Rebecca Kwei.
Mr Solomon Amartey, a driver on his part is convinced that the increment is too high as compared to the 30 per cent increase in transport fares. Mr Alex Mensah, a supervisor at the Total Filling Station in Adabraka said the station is still experiencing fuel shortage because TOR is not releasing enough to meet the high demand.Alberto Mario Noretti reports from Ho that the streets of Ho suddenly turned desolate because of the increases in the prices of petroleum products.Due to the increases in lorry fares, most commuters now prefer to walk while many drivers have also chosen to keep their vehicles off the road.The few operators of transport who worked at the weekend, decided to double the fares.