My take on the refusal of commercial vehicle drivers and owners to reduce their fares

Feature Article My take on the refusal of commercial vehicle drivers and owners to reduce their fares
MAY 28, 2023 LISTEN

It is habitual of Ghana commercial (passenger) vehicle drivers to increase their fares as soon as the government, or its assigned agency, announces price increase in petrol at the pump. They don’t hesitate to raise their fares; always justifying such immediate hypes in fares by saying the government has put up the price of petrol. Fair enough.

If I understand it very well, the customary attitude of the “passenger car” (commercial vehicles) drivers increasing their fares whenever petrol price at the pump goes up is like what in mathematics is called direct proportion.

What is direct proportion? “Direct proportion is a type of proportionality relationship. For direct proportion, as one value increases, so does the other value and conversely, as one value decreases, so does the other value”.

My argument here is the drivers always cite the increase in petrol to justify their fare increases. They don’t increase their fares when there is no government-approved increase of petrol at the pump, thus, at the places where customers buy gasoline for their cars. Fine with me.

Why then is it that when the price of petrol is reduced at the pump, the drivers insist on maintaining the ongoing rate of fares without reducing them as in the application of direct proportion as defined above, conversely of course?

When they are required to reduce their fares when petrol price falls at the pump (petrol filling stations), they refuse. They begin to tell the nation that prices of other items needed for running commercial vehicles are still high so they cannot reduce their fares.

Nevertheless, they increase their fares based on raised price in petrol but not when the price of spare parts, tyres, insurance or roadworthy certificate goes up.

What do they want to tell Ghanaians? Are they taking us for fools or what? “Ils nous prennent pour des imbéciles ou quoi”, as a French man will say?

I can see them to be underrating our intelligence and or, taxing our patience; typical of the Ghanaian.

Similarly, when the purchasing price of cocoa is increased a bit in the hope of bettering the precarious living conditions of the penurious cocoa farmers, Ghana traders begin to increase the prices of their goods. They cite the government’s increase of cocoa price for the cocoa farmers to justify the proportionate increase in prices of their wares or goods.

By this attitude of the traders, any intended benefits to ameliorate the living standards of the farmers, the backbone of the economy of Ghana, are immediately eroded away to culminate in the farmers always lingering in poverty.

I was the son of cocoa farmers who unfortunately, have passed on decades ago. I know the life of cocoa farmers.

Again, the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) scholarships come about as a result of money gained from the sale of cocoa abroad or wherever, do not benefit the children of the poor cocoa farmers but go often to the children of rich people, influential public servants, powerful politicians, traditional overlords and those with “connections” in the country. You know what I mean!

Going back to the drivers, I totally disagree with them when they cite the high prices of other items to justify their intransigent stance to maintaining their current fares, even though the price of petrol has gone down at the pump.

Whenever lorry fare goes up in Ghana, the prices of almost everything go up. The dealers in such items always cite the increase in fares as impacting their trade hence their obligation to up the prices of their goods in order to make profit or break even (the point at which cost and income are equal and there is neither profit nor loss).

I deplore the attitude of Ghana commercial vehicle drivers on their failure to reduce their fares when the price of petrol goes down but always quickly upping their fares whenever the price of petrol at the pump goes up as may be announced by the government.