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General News of Monday, 27 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Coronavirus: Your directive puts us at risk – Passengers tell Akufo-Addo


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The president’s recent directive that allows commercial vehicles to operate in full capacity is one that has been described as “highly insensitive” on his part.

Some Ghanaians have therefore called on the first gentleman of the land to, as a matter of urgency, reconsider his decision or risk seeing a surge in Coronavirus cases.

GhanaWeb on Monday, July 27, paid a visit to some commercial vehicle stations in the country to examine how passengers and drivers are complying with the new directive.

The team observed the usual congestion in buses which is considered a threat to the country in the wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Also, the disregard for social distancing poses a possible transfer of the virus since some passengers’ continue to board buses without wearing a nose mask.

A middle-aged woman who spoke to GhanaWeb said no matter how they (passengers) convince drivers to at least maintain some distance, they do not heed to their plea justifying their actions with the president’s new mandate.

“What the president did is highly risky. I fear for my life. We are no longer observing physical distancing,” said Madam Anokye, a passenger at the Kanieshie trotro station in Accra.

Another man added, “Coronavirus still lives among us. Even when we were observing the physical distances there were chances of it spreading how much more now? He needs to think about the lives of citizens. Our cases will surely go up”.

In Ghana, the most common form of transportation is the ‘trotro’ bus. It is the cheapest form of transportation that accommodates a little over 22 passengers depending on the size of the vehicle.

Some identified challenge that comes with boarding these buses has been with the nature of the seats which are closely packed together due to the lack of space. Those who can, however, afford the cost of taxi’s somehow enjoy the ‘luxury’ of space.

Another passenger who spoke on the challenges currently experienced said, “We want the media to channel our grievances to the government, we want a reduction in transport fares. We are afraid for our lives. You can see how we are closely seated but as you know, there is little we can do about the situation”.

In the wake of these challenges, passengers are also calling for an immediate reduction in transport fares since drivers are now operating at full capacity.

But drivers, on the side, cautioned government against any move of a reduction in fares referring the situation to the recent increment in fuel prices at pump stations.

Speaking on behalf of drivers, Alhaji Yakubu, who operates at the Kanieshie Station noted, “Let it be known that we increased our transport fares as a result in fuel prices not the reduction of the number of passengers and therefore nobody can tell us to reduce fares. Our sales have dropped. How are we expected to pay our car owners? ”



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