Drivers, passengers clash over disparities in new fares
Passengers and drivers at Sampa, in the Jaman district of the Brong Ahafo region, have clashed over transport fares, resulting in the injuring of about 10 people.
The casualty rate would have been worse but the timely intervention of the police and authorities of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) at Sampa, brought the situation under control.
Chronicle sources in the town revealed that drivers there charge exorbitant fares, way above the normal, and this brought a dispute between the passengers and the drivers, leading to the clash.
For example, before the 94% increase in fuel prices, the transportat fare from Sampa to Kyereni was ?4,000, but the drivers have doubled it to ?8,000.
Again, according to our source, the drivers have pegged the fare from Sampa to Kumasi at ?32,000 but the appropriate fare is supposed to be ?25,000. Before the increase it was ?18,000.
After the clash, the drivers went on strike, thereby making travelling from Sampa to any part of the country virtually impossible. One could only travel to Sampa on vehicles belonging to owners residing outside the border town.
As at the time of filing this report vehicles travelling to Sunyani, the regional capital of Brong Ahafo, from Sampa, had stopped working, because the drivers were refusing to charge the authorised fares.
The position of the drivers is that all roads leading to Sampa, either through Drobo, the district capital, or Wenchi, are all in a deplorable state. The Sampa drivers are, therefore, calling for “realistic fares” to match the recent fuel hikes.
When the police at Sampa were contacted over the clash, they confirmed it, but said the case had been referred to the leadership of the GPRTU for an amicable settlement.
Three persons, however, have been arrested by the police over their involvement in the clash and are now on bail pending the settlement of the issue by the GPRTU. Meanwhile, the drivers at Sunyani, particularly the taxi drivers, are complying with the new fares.
Routes on which drivers were formerly charging ?700 now attract ?1,000 and ?1,000 gone up to ?1,500. For example, from Sunyani to Fiapre is now ?1,000; previously it was ?700. Sunyani to Estate which was ?700 is now ?1,000. Sunyani - Abesim ?1,500, but was previously ?1,000 and Sunyani to Odumase previously ?800 is now ?1,200.
Vehicles plying long journeys, such as Sunyani to Kumasi are now charging ?9,000 instead of ?6,000 and ?12,500 instead of ?8,500 by the Mercedes Benz buses and the mini-buses respectively.