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General News Wed, 27 Jan 2021

Government urged to direct commercial drivers to reduce passenger intake

Commuters in Accra have called on the government to direct commercial drivers to reduce passenger intake to enhance the observation of social distancing in vehicles.

That, they said, had become necessary to contain the second wave of covid-19, in view of the increasing number of cases being recorded daily.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) the commuters said though they continued to observe the other safety protocols like wearing of nose masks and use of hand sanitisers, the non-adherence to social distancing in vehicles still posed a great danger.

Mr Isaac Aidoo, a passenger, spotted in a Dansoman bound vehicle at the Old Tema Station, said it was unsafe to sit close to strangers because one could not tell who had the virus or not.

“We’ve been asked not to attend funerals due to the rise in the COVID-19 numbers, yet we pack ourselves daily into vehicles with strangers. This is sad,” he bemoaned.

Mr Aidoo, therefore, urged the Government to immediately direct drivers not to load to full capacity to allow for social distancing.

Madam Janet Terkpertey, also a passenger, said: “I don’t feel comfortable sitting close to a stranger because the COVID-19 numbers keep increasing.”

“But the public vehicle is my only means of commuting so I do not have an option than to call on the government to instruct drivers to take fewer passengers to allow for social distancing.”

Madam Regina Emefa Abokraa, another passenger, said only a few people could afford car hiring services and it was time government acted to save the larger public.

She called for strict enforcement of the protocols, particularly the wearing of face masks in public transports, as some passengers took them off immediately they boarded the vehicle.

Mr Abubakar Abdul Salam, Chairman of the Accra New Town branch of the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU) said drivers incurred losses when they were directed to take fewer passengers from March last year.

“Government will have to reduce the price of fuel to help the drivers as they are already facing hardship and cannot be the ones to bear the cost of fewer passengers, especially looking at how expensive fuel is now, else passengers will have to pay twice the fare,” he stated.

Mr Kofi Afful, Tema Station GPRTU Welfare Chairman, said: “We do not have a problem if we are to reduce the number of passengers to ensure the social distancing. However, we cannot bear the cost with the reduction that comes with it while we pay our car loans.”

“Therefore, if the government is willing to bear some of this cost or help in the repayment of the car loans, we are ready to comply,” he added.

Ghana has witnessed a significant surge in the spread of the virus in recent weeks with the country recording nearly 2,000 new cases of infections within three days.

The active cases as at Monday, January 25, stood at 3,286 with the death toll at 367.
Source: GNA
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