As part of the second phase of easing of COVID-19 restrictions by the government, commercial vehicles are to return to taking the normal number of passengers in their vehicles.
This was announced by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo during his 14th address to update the nation on measures taken by the government in the COVID-19 battle.
“In consultation with the Ministries of Transport and Aviation and the leadership of transport operators, Government has taken the decision to lift the restrictions in the transport sector, and allow for full capacity in our domestic airplanes, taxis, trotros and buses. The wearing of masks in vehicles and aircrafts, and the maintenance of enhanced hygiene protocols, remain mandatory,” he declared.
Road Transport Operators after consultations with the Ghana Private Transport Union (GPRTU) and the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council, in March, announced some measures to ensure social distancing among passengers in commercial vehicles.
This move was among others aimed at ensuring that the precautionary directives given by President Nana Akufo-Addo on social distancing were observed on all public transport vehicles and terminals to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The following measures were agreed upon:
- All Passenger Carrying-vehicles including taxis seating 1-3 passengers on a row shall seat not more than two passengers on a row.
- All Passenger Carrying-vehicles seating 1-4 passengers on a row shall seat not more than three passengers on a row
- All Passenger carrying vehicles seating 1-5 passengers on a row shall seat not more than three passengers on a row.
Commercial vehicle drivers, following this directive, lamented the low level of revenue gotten from business due to the reduced number of passengers in the vehicles.
On the back of this, they demanded an increase in transport fares to make up for the losses made while obeying the order to ensure social distancing in their vehicles.
Recent increase in transport fares
Since Saturday, 11 July 2020, commuters have been paying 15% more in transport fares following approval by the government for commercial transport operators to hike fares.
A deputy Transport Minister, Nii Kwartei Titus Glover had told Citi News that the decision was taken after a meeting with transport operators on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
He said the transport operators made an alternative proposal which was for the government to allow them to revert to carrying their usual full seating capacity or for the fares to be adjusted upwards by 30%.
Titus Glover said after considering both proposals, the government decided to approve the increment in transport fares by 15%.