Movement restrictions and social distancing protocols impacted the transport sector negatively. Significant losses in revenue were recorded in the wake of the novel Coronavirus.
In the Mid-Year Policy Review, Ken Ofori Atta noted some of such losses. “Commuter mini bus services, tro-tro, operated at 70 percent load capacity whilst inter-city buses had passengers reduced by 50 percent between March and May. The operations of Metro-Mass Transport experienced a decline in monthly revenue from GH¢5.5 million to GH¢2.1 million. The Intercity STC Company witnessed decline in bus services and luggage revenue from average of GH¢5.0 million in previous months to average of GH¢3.0 million since March 2020. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority also experienced losses as revenue fell drastically from GH¢3.5 million to about GH¢1 million between March and April 2020,” he said.
In the past week, most transport operators increased fares, in a bid to recover and avoid losses. The move was unwelcomed by most Ghanaians.
Full scale operation
In the president’s 14th Nation address, Akuffo Addo eased restrictions in the transport sector by allowing transport services to operate at full capacity. “In consultation with the Ministries of Transport and Aviation, and the leadership of transport operators, Government has taken the decision to lift the restrictions in the transport sector, and allow for full capacity in our domestic airplanes, taxis, trotros and buses,” he said.
This is an economic turnaround for all those working in the transport sector. With full-scale operation to resume, transport operators will be able to begin recouping their losses. The transport sector will thus begin to see a steady rise in transport operations.
Borders remain close
Tour bus operators may, however, face some challenges as “borders by air, land, and sea remains closed to human traffic” Akuffo Addo said. The reason for the challenge is that tour bus operators operate by transporting tourists mostly foreigners to tourist attraction sites and with our borders still closed, operators will be out of jobs or operate at low capacity unless they temporarily include commercial transport to their current list of services.
Given the ease in restrictions, Ghanaians will thus, expect a corresponding fall in transport fares to ease the already existing financial burden that the novel Coronavirus has swept across the country. Prices may, however, remain as it is unless the government decides to step in.
President Akuffo Addo added that “The wearing of masks in vehicles and aircrafts, and the maintenance of enhanced hygiene protocols, remain mandatory.”