Commercial transport operators across the country, over the weekend, adjusted transport fares upwards by 20 per cent.
This followed an earlier announcement by the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) to authorise the operators to review transport fares upwards.
Some passengers the Ghanaian Times interviewed yesterday reported of about 20 per cent increment in fares.
Kojo Manu, one of the passengers said, Teiman to Kaneshie, which was initially GH¢7 was now GH¢9 while Teiman to Circle was presently GH¢8.50 from GH¢6.
Another passenger, who gave his name as Lawrence noted that the fare for Madina to Circle which was GH¢5 was now GH¢6.50 while Teiman to Abokobi increased from GH¢1.70p to GH¢2.50p.
Similar reports were gathered from some passengers who plied the Circle-Kasoa route and the Accra-Nungua stretch.
Some operators on the Circle-Spintex, Accra-Nsawam and TemaAfienya to Accra were yet to increase their fares.
Confirming the development, General Secretary of GPRTU, GodfredAblubire said the increment had become necessary due to rising fuel prices as well as that of other key components including spare parts and lubricants.
He explained that the operators have been hard hit by the recent increase in fuel price from GH¢10.80p at the pump to GH¢11.40p.
He noted that the Union was compelled to implement the fare adjustment after several attempts by the Union to meet other stakeholders including the Ministry of Transport to reach a consensus on the matter failed.
“We had earlier agreed with government in March that should fuel prices increase again by 10 per cent or upwards, there will be a corresponding increase in transport fares.
But when it happened in March and the first week of May, all our attempts to activate that agreement have not been fruitful. So we proceeded to ask our members to review their fares by 20 per cent,” MrAblubire added.
He said transport operators risk collapsing their business if the increase in fares was not immediately implemented.
“We are now seeing an increase in prices of spare parts and other lubricants as well petroleum product, which is the major component of what we use to run our business. We are on the brink of going out of business if we do not address the situation now,” he added.
Earlier, the General Secretary said the Union appealed to government to remove taxes on petroleum products but were told that the country could not afford to lose GH¢4 billion in revenue.
He noted that the members of the Union could not wait any longer since the situation was negatively impacting their business, hence the authorisation to implement the fare hike.
MrAblubire said although the Union was aware of the current economic challenges, the increment was necessary to save the transport business from imminent collapse and asked the traveling public to cooperate with them.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC) had indicated that it was yet to engage the GPRTU or any group on any matter regarding increase in transport fares.
General Secretary of GRTCC, Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah stated that the Council was not aware of any proposal by the GPRTU to increase transport fares by 20 per cent.
He explained that the usual convention had been for the Union to meet with the GRTCC and the Transport Ministry before any upward adjustment in transport fares was announced.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS