Observing social distancing in commercial vehicles lead to hikes in lorry fares in some farming communities
- On May 14, 2020
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By: Benyina Afriyie Timothy, Focal person, Western Region
April 20, 2020
The directive of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) for commercial drivers to reduce the number of passengers to ensure social distancing has compelled some drivers to increase lorry fares.
Traders who travel to villages to purchase food items for sale couldn’t stand the shock of the new fares. For example, passengers traveling from cocoa-growing communities in Sefwi- Wiawso, the regional capital to Sefwi-Asawinso paid GHS12.00 instead of GHS9.00. The fares from Sefwi-Bodi to Akontombra had increased from GHS12.00 to GHS15.00, whiles passengers traveling from Debeiso to Adabokrom paid GHS14.00 instead of GHS10.00.
Some farmers and traders in the Western North region feel their livelihoods are going to be adversely affected due to the hikes in transport fares. Cocoa farmers who had harvested food crops such as plantain, cassava, banana, and pear were hoping to make good sales as people were preparing to stock foodstuff in anticipation of the lockdown. The hikes in transport fares thus came to them as a disappointment as they will be incurring more cost in transporting their produce to the various markets.
Some drivers explain to SEND GHANA’s focal person that they decided to increase the fares as a result of the reduced number of passengers, to ensure adherence to the directive on social distancing. However, commuters expressed much worry about the current situation stressing that they did not understand why the increment while transport fares in other regions remained unchanged.
Farmers and market women are, therefore, calling on the Transport Ministry and the Western North Regional Coordinating Council to bring drivers to order since the increment was too much for them to bear.