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20.02.2006 General News

GPRTU official unhappy about absence of new fares

By GNA

Cape Coast, Feb 20, GNA - Mr Albert Nana Acquah, First Trustee of the Tantri Branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), on Monday expressed concern about the failure of the government and the national secretariat of the Union to announce new fares with fuel increases.

He noted that the situation, "brings confrontation between drivers and passengers," since drivers and local GPRTU branches had to "use their discretion to fix new fares," which he said, did not auger well for the transport business.

Mr Acquah expressed the concern in an interview with the GNA at Cape Coast following the increase in fuel prices announced last Friday. He said at the Tantri station, drivers had been allowed to increase their fares by a thousand cedis, pending the provision of a new fares list, adding that the fare from Cape Coast to Accra and Cape Coast to Tema, were 19,000 cedis and 23,000 cedis instead of the 18,000 and 22,000 cedis respectively.

The First Trustee cautioned drivers against "shifting" the increase in fuel prices also on passengers' luggage and urged them to charge reasonably to avoid confrontations with passengers.

During a visit to the four main lorry stations in Cape Coast all the station officers and drivers expressed the same sentiments, stressing that the situation always led to problems between stations officers and drivers who resorted to arbitrary increases in fares.

At the Cape Coast-Elmina-UCC station, fares had been increased, with Cape Coast-Elmina moving up from 3,700 to 4,000 cedis, from the town centre to the UCC 'science area' and to OLA, a suburb of Cape Coast, from 2,100 cedis and 1,600 cedis to 2,500 cedis and 2,000 cedis respectively and 'town riding' 1,500 cedis instead of 1,000 cedis. Mr Baba Mohammed, Vice Station Officer, said they had to use their discretion to increase the fares and stressed the need for new fares simultaneously with fuel price increases.

He also noted that the increase of fuel prices also affected other items such as spare parts, tyres and vehicle lubricants and drivers have to "charge fares that will not make them ran at a loss". Mr Samuel Nuhu, the Praso-Mankessim Station Master, said the arbitrary fares would be reviewed when the national secretariat issue a new fare list.

However, at the Cape Coast- Kumasi station, Mr Kwamena Nyamoah, Station Master, said the old fares were still being charged and that they were waiting for new fares.

The fares from Cape Coast to Kumasi is still 25,000 cedis, Obuasi 18,000 cedis, Sunyani, 39,000 cedis and Assin Fosu 9,500 cedis, he said, and appealed to commercial drivers to exercise patient and wait for a new fare list.

Many of the passengers GNA spoke with did not complain about the increment, stressing that it was not the fault of the drivers, as they had not been given any new fare list. One passenger, who simply gave her name as Esi, said she knew drivers were cheating passengers, but said they had no option, since the national secretariat of the GPRTU was yet to release new fares. She added her voice to the call on the government to ensure that new fares are announced with fuel price increase to avoid confrontations and cheating.

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