Residents in Tema have appealed to Government to compel commercial drivers to reduce the number of passengers on Taxi and Trotro buses to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Passengers on Monday expressed concern about the number of passengers on-board these commercial vehicles without observing COVID-19 protocols.
Madam Sarah Adjei said: “I am so scared of contracting the virus from a commercial bus because the six feet social distancing is not working at all in our commercial vehicles.”
Drivers and their mates virtually force passengers to sit so close to each other, in the midst of these some passengers also refuse to wear the nose masks thereby putting all other passengers at risks.
“I am pleading with the Government to come to consensus with the commercial drivers by reducing the cost of fuel for the drivers to also reduce loading capacity,” she said.
Madam Adjei recommended that Government consider reduction of the cost of fuel, which would in turn force the drivers to reduce the number of passengers.
Other residents expressed similar sentiments and appealed to the Government to engage the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) to come out with new modalities to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
Most of the residents want Government and GPRTU to go back to the restriction era. Others also called for adequate precautionary measures by transport owners to protect passengers since the majority still depended on public transport to commute across the country.
Mr. Samuel Gyasi, Chairman of the Tema Community One Shell Drivers Association, told the GNA, “Drivers cannot reduce the number of passengers without other incentives from Government.
“The price of fuel continues to be increased, so if we reduce the number of passengers it will affect our income.”
He said the persistent increment in fuel prices was worrisome and pleaded with the Government to support commercial drivers.
In March last year, GPRTU announced measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the move among others was to ensure that precautionary directives given by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on social distancing were observed on all public transport vehicles and terminals.
The measures were that: 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.
All GPRTU members were tasked to comply with the directive and ensure that “all transport terminals have adequate running water basins and sanitizers to enable passengers wash and sanitize their hands before boarding”.