Increasing transport fares has reduced the rate at which people used to travel from Bolgatanga, the regional capital of the Upper East Region to other places.
According to drivers in the Municipality, there had been a drastic reduction of the patronage of their services as it took a long time for vehicles to get enough passengers for a trip, from the various lorry stations on daily basis due to the increase in fares.
Mr Abomooh Francis Akanboe Yazieh, the Secretary of the Needle and Thread Transport Limited (N&T Transport), speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said the effect of the high cost of fuel and low patronage of the services of drivers was so dire that some had practically folded up.
“The reality on the ground is that drivers are experiencing the worse times because some cars have been here for 24 hours and are still in queue just to get passengers to Tamale and loading back is not assured because yesterday, we loaded only ten cars and only five were able to return with passengers and the others slept in Tamale.”
“It is very unusual, because in time past when fuel prices were manageable, we could load about 25 cars and even sometimes rely on other stations for cars but now, our own drivers don’t get to load and some have practically folded up because they waste fuel and come here, only to be stranded,’’ he added.
He said the fare for six- seater capacity vehicles moving from Bolgatanga to Tamale was presently GH¢80.00 while 12-seater capacity vehicles charged GH₵65.00 as against the previous fares of GH₵55.00 and GH₵45.00, respectively.
Mr Amadu R. Mohammed, alias Chukse, a driver at the Station said the inability of government to reduce fuel prices would worsen their plight and negatively impact those who depended on them.
“We are much worried as drivers because it is not in our interest to make things difficult for our passengers because we survive on their patronage of our vehicles, but this has been the case.
‘’Our children and parents depend on us, so imagine if we come here and return home with empty hands,” he added.
The story at the Bawku lorry station was not different as vehicles were stationed without passengers. cheetah
Mr Mba Ambrose, a driver at the station said traders preferred to have agents at the markets in Bawku, Tamale, Kumasi, and Accra, who purchase their goods for them and that had relatively reduced the number of people who traveled to and from Bolgatanga each day.
The fare from Bolgatanga to Bawku presently ranges from GH₵35.00 to GH₵40. 00 as against the previous GH₵25.00 or GH₵30.00, depending on the type of vehicle.
At the State Transport Corporation (STC), fares from Bolgatanga to Accra, Kumasi and Techiman are Gh¢275, GH¢197, and GH¢ 140respectively, an increase from GH¢ 250.00, GH¢170 and GH¢110.00 respectively, in one week.
At the OA bus station, there was an increase of Gh¢ 20.00 on all the fares of the various buses, the Executive bus fares from Bolgatanga to Kumasi is GH¢200.00, Accra GH¢ 300.00 and Techiman, GH¢ 170.00 while the standard buses charged Gh¢ 240.00, GH¢170.00 and GH¢150.00 to Accra, Kumasi and Techiman, respectively.
A visit to some fuel pumps in Bolgatanga Township by the Ghana News Agency revealed that, Petrol was sold at GH₵17.99 and Diesel at GH₵23.49 per litre by GOIL and NASONA oils while at the NAAGAMNI oil, petro was sold at GH₵17.80 and Diesel at GH₵22.99 per liter.