Drivers within the capital have expressed mixed reactions over the possible increase in transport fares following an increase in the prices of petroleum products last Friday.
Some of the drivers, who have been speaking to Citi Business News, fear they may be making huge losses if transport fares are not equally adjusted to meet the increased cost of operation.
For the first window of the petroleum price deregulation in September, the price of a litre of petrol went up between 4 and 6 percent while a litre of diesel went up between 6 and 8 percent.
Checks at some major OMCs in the capital reveal that the price of a litre of petrol is selling between 3 cedis 63 pesewas and 3 cedis 68 pesewas.
A litre of diesel is however selling between 3 cedis 62 pesewas and 3 cedis 65 pesewas.
While some floating drivers have already started adjusting their fares to match up with the increase, some union drivers believe they are constrained as they would have to await the response from their union leaders.
One floating diver remarked, “I charge based on the distance a customer is travelling…definitely if I find out that fuel prices are going up, I must also have to increase my price because if fuel increases it affects everything.”
Yet another stated, “The passengers are still paying old fares and that is affecting my business adversely.”
Meanwhile a union driver said, “We are equally being affected even though we are mostly stationary. We would be grateful if the leaders negotiate for a rebate in the cost of fuel if we cannot increase the fares.”
Chamber of Petroleum Consumers dissatisfied with increases
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers has however lamented the inability of the OMCs to maintain prices though global prices were increasing steadily.
The Chamber argues that the rate of decrease in previous pricing windows, may not have prompted an increase.
“At a time when prices could have gone down by as much as 12 percent following indexes on the world market price and the stability over the period, we were recording a reduction of about 6 percent over the same period,” the Executive Secretary of the Chamber, Duncan Amoah observed.
He added, “Unfortunately around a time that world market prices have inched up to about 46 or 47 dollars per barrel, prices on the local market have also gone up.”
Transport fares increased by 15 percent
The last increase in transport fares was implemented on February 1st this year when the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council [GRTCC] announced a 15 percent increase.
In addition to the increased cost of fuel at the time, the union justified the increase by citing the relative increases in cost of spare parts and maintenance, fixed cost, licensing, charges, levies and tolls and the almighty fuel.
However, officials of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union [GPRTU] and GRTCC are yet to comment on the latest development.