The recent increment in transport fares has been met with calm in Cape Coast as most commuters say they have no option but to accept the new charges from the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU).
At some major transport stations in Cape Coast, passengers who were not aware of the new charges were all calm but insisted that the government should intervene to reduce what they described as a “harsh increment”.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a passenger who spoke on anonymity at the Bakano Ford Station said the increment from GH¢35 to GH¢40 was too much for them and urged the authorities to intervene in the matter to ensure a reduction.
“Whenever there is an increment in fuel and transport fares, it tends to have a significant repercussion on the cost of living and cost of doing business,” the passenger said.
Most transport stations in Cape Coast have upwardly adjusted fares by 13 per cent.
However, tricycles operating in the metropolis still maintain the one cedi town ride fare they charged prior to the increase in fares, making many commuters opt for that mode of transport.
Some commuters explained that the new fares introduced by the GPRTU was likely to drain them financially.
“Taxis used to charge GH¢1.50 for town rides but now we are paying GH¢2 for town ride while the pragya have maintained the charge of one cedi.
“Imagine taking a taxi from Kingsway to Tantri and paying GH¢2, when the pragya would charge only GH¢1.00,” a passenger said.
Some of the tricycle operators who spoke to the Daily Graphic said the initial plan was to increase the fare for town ride from GH¢1.00 to GH¢1.20 but the decision had since been met with resistance from passengers.
Some said although passengers since Saturday had heard of the increment, they still insisted on going by the “usual GH¢1.00 charge.”
“For some passengers, once you tell them of the increment, they either pick a fight with you or throw the usual fare at you and walk away, so we have decided to go with the GH¢1.00 until they agree on the said amount," Frank Odame Mensah, a tricycle operator stated.
The tricycle operators said, however, that the increment by taxis was certainly a boom in business for them.
From the Eastern Regional Capital, Koforidua, Pacome Emmanuel Damalie reports that the increment took effect last Saturday as indicated with mixed feelings among passengers, drivers and union leaders.
Checks made by the Daily Graphic at all major registered vehicle stations revealed that fares had been fairly increased by between GH¢3 and GH¢5 for vehicles plying from Koforidua to the nearest regional capitals surrounding the Eastern Region.
Fares from Koforidua to other major towns within the Eastern Region have been pegged between GH¢1.00 and GH¢2; whereas vehicles working within the capital have also increased their fares by between 20 and 50 pesewas including tricycles popularly known as "Pragya".
The Station Master at Peace PROATA station, Mr Emmanuel Wolegbe, in an interview with the Daily Graphic said the increment for vehicles loading from Koforidua to Accra did not reflect the reality. He said the increment from GH¢ 20 to GH¢23 was insignificant as spare parts and fuel prices would leave them with little gains.
A driver on the Koforidua to Kumasi route, Mr Akwasi Addai, also lamented that the increment had not really changed anything. He opined that an increase in transport fare from GH¢35 to GH¢40 cedis would soon be neutralised by fuel price increment sooner or later. He pleaded with the government to also make sure fuel prices did not increase anytime sooner.
A passenger, Ms Beatrice Omari, said the increment had left a sour taste in the mouths of commuters describing it as "irrational" following the hardship in the economy. She accused the GPRTU in the Eastern Region of unfairly increasing the fares, especially with passengers traveling from Koforidua to Nkawkaw who now pay GH¢20 after an increment from GH¢18.