Commercial drivers in the Sunyani Municipality have for the past two weeks taken the law into their own hands by charging exorbitant and arbitrary fares from passengers with impunity. The unlawful trend is increasingly creating heated argument and confusion between drivers and passengers in commercial cars.
The drivers have topped-up fares to short distances such as Abesim, New-Dormaa and Odomase by GH¢0.20p while local run or dropping fare which used to be GH¢4.00 is now the prerogative of drivers, subject to the time of the day and climatic conditions.
The drivers have cited ‘three consecutive fuel hikes’ coupled with high prices of car spare-parts and 100% increment in income tax from GH¢6.00 to GH¢12.00 not corresponding with the statutory fares, hence their decision to charge arbitrary fares to balance their sales.
They have also profusely blamed the leadership of various driver-unions for their “failure” to negotiate for impartial fares on their behalf, thereby informing them to ‘do their own thing’.
Checks have revealed that some people with the physical strength have now resorted to walking in covering shorter distances to save their purse in the wake of exorbitant fares. Residents of Sunyani have expressed their dismay over the development, and have made passionate appeals to authorities to swiftly intervene to get the issue resolved.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Secretary of the GPRTU, Richard Amankwaa, in an interview with B&FT categorically stated that the decision of the drivers contravenes the laws of the Union, saying: “We have written to the Transport Ministry for a proposed fare increment, and until the Ministry gives us the green light it is absolutely wrong for anybody to take the initiative.”
He repeatedly called on the drivers to rescind their decision as they await directives from above in addressing their concerns.