Editorial: Government involvement in road transport service is low, let’s correct it

The Road Transport Operators reached a consensus with government to lower lorry fares, starting from Wednesday, May 17, 2023. This is as a result of the continuous decrease in the prices of petroleum products in recent weeks.

The statement, jointly signed by Emmanuel Ohene Yeboah, General Secretary of the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council and Godfred Adulbire, General Secretary of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), emphasised that the fare adjustment aligns with the administrative arrangement on public transport fares, taking into account reductions in petroleum prices during this period.

The revised fares are to be applicable to shared taxis, intra-city (trotro), intercity (long-distance buses) and haulage vehicles. The operators urged commercial transport providers to adhere to the new fares and display them prominently at their loading terminals.

However, some commercial vehicle drivers have insisted that they are not ready to comply with the directive of a 10% reduction in transport fares. According to the drivers, the fuel reduction has not translated to the prices of other commodities that they buy for the upkeep of their vehicles.

The Chronicle does not agree with the decision of the drivers not to reduce the transport fares. This is because anytime there is an increment in the cost of fuel they increase the transport fares accordingly. The drivers would be dealing unfairly with Ghanaians if a few recalcitrant ones refuse to adjust the fares downwards. More so, when management of the road transport operators have agreed to the reduction.

The Chronicle is surprised that the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and other allied organisations have kept mute over the sheer disregard for the directive to reduce the transport fares.

Road transport is the prime responsibility of government, yet its involvement in transport service provision is low, leading to the private commercial vehicles calling the shots instead of government. It is high time government acknowledges the need to invest more in public transport system so as to be able to enforce proper regulations.

A typical example is the Aayalolo (Bus Rapid Transit) BRT that was established under the Ghana Urban Transport Project to improve public transportation in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and associated assemblies by providing more and better public transit services to meet the needs of these growing assemblies.

However, today all these buses have been ran down with various faults that have affected their fuel pumps, brakes and tyres among others. Others too have been grounded due to lack of servicing on the part of the management.

The Transport Minister, who was recently engaged in an interview about the state of the Aayalolo Buses has said that his outfit is working together with other stakeholders to see how best they can develop a new model to revive the operations of the transport system.

After running down such a good public transport model, the minister’s promise comes after the horses have already bolted.  Let us see if he can walk the talk because government’s involvement in road transport is needed now.


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