Commuters in Wa in the Upper West Region say they are compelled to pay astronomical hikes in transport fares by transport operators and a stressful travel ever since Doli Bridge in the Savannah Region was washed away by torrential rains nearly a week ago.
They are therefore calling on the government to fix the collapsed bridge and washed away portion of the road to save them from the stressful ordeal.
They contend that they have to endure between 17 to 20 hours of travel time bus from Wa to Accra, which originally was a 14 to 15 hours journey as well as between 10 and 12 hours for Wa to Kumasi, which were previously an 8-hour travel time.
Investigations by the Ghanaian Times indicated that Intercity STC had increased its fare from GH¢230 GH¢260 for Wa to Accra, while OA and VIP have reviewed theirs from GH¢270 to GH¢290 with Wa to Kumasi now GH¢190 instead of GH¢170.
The VVIP stations had adjusted their fare from GH¢230 to GH¢260 for Wa to Accra, whereas the ESPON transport station was charging GH¢160 to GH¢180 for Wa to Kumasi.
Due to the diversion, transport operators in the region had to adjust their fares upward in order to cover the cost for the longer route they have to ply as a result of the road diversion.
Aside the hikes in transport fares, the commuters say the collapse of the Doli Bridge was having a serious economic impact to the residents in the area.
According to them, the price of food in the area was rising due to the high cost of transport and difficulty in carting food from farms to the marketing centres.
The commuters also say the collapse of the bridge was affecting healthcare, since people who were indisposed could not be easily sent to referral hospitals.
Madam Augustina Suglo, who had just returned from Accra on Monday, said they arrived in Wa at 12:00 p.m after the bus took off from Accra at 6:00 p.m on Sunday evening, and bought the ticket at GH¢260 instead of the original GH¢230.
“This Accra journey has become really long and stressful for us and we cannot patronise the flight either because it is very expensive,” she said.
A trader, Emelia Addo, said Christmas season was fast approaching so government should fix the road to make it easier for traders to travel down south and import goods to the region.
The Senior Industrial Relations Officer of the Ghana Private Road and Transport Union (GPRTU) in the region, Mr Nuhu Mahama, in an interview said the adjustment was necessary to cater for the extra cost as a result of plying the longer route, but assured that buses supervised by the union would go back to the original price when the road was fixed.
The Doli Bridge along the Wa-Kumasi Highway, which linked the Upper West Region and neighbouring Burkina Faso to the Southern part of Ghana, was washed away by a 12-hour rain last week, leaving a ditch in the middle of the road and making it difficult for commuters to use the road.
Commuters, therefore, had to divert their travel to Sawla to go through Damongo to link the Tamale to Techiman road and continue from Techiman adding extra hours to the journey.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Bole, Ms Veronica Alele Heming, in a phone interview with this newspaper stated that the road would be fixed soon.
The DCE who had visited the area prior to the interview indicated that she saw that huge stones had been moved to the affected area and expressed confidence that work would commence soon.
Meanwhile, residents around the area have been crossing the Doli River to Bole and surrounding communities on boat for business and other transactions.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA