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Check profiteering by trotro drivers



Thomas Hobbes, a 17th Century English Philosopher, opined that humans by nature are selfish and competitive and given the chance, would always seek to advance their interest at the expense of others.  The Philosopher therefore concluded that, when the activities and actions of men are not regulated, the society would become very chaotic, a situation, he described as “War of all against all.” Should this happen, Hobbes observed, that life would become brutish, cruel, solitary, lonely and short. To prevent this anarchical situation, the Philosopher recommended the adoption of laws and government regulations on how men compete for the scarce resources of the society.

It is therefore sad to note, that despite the existence of laws  in the country, a section of the public transport system operatives, that is, the trotro drivers, whimsically and capriciously pursue their interest at the detriment of the poor masses, something they do with unpardonable impunity without recourse to law or regulations. At the slightest upward price adjustment of crude oil, these drivers would cry foul and advocate for increase in transport fares. When given the green light to do so, they increase the fares way higher than the percentage at which the fuel prices would have been increased. After hiking the transport fares against the interest of their patrons, they still manage to charge more than the required fares.

The worst  situation is the profiteering strategy they have adopted to exploit the already financially burdened passengers. A driver loading from Accra to Kasoa during rush hours would make two stops before finally loading to Kasoa, their actual destination. With this tactic, the Kasoa bound passengers who might have joined such a bus from Accra would end up paying way higher than the stipulated fares. They do so by loading to two nearby or closeby towns first, before finally loading to Kasoa, their final destination. This has become a daily phenomenon, with the excuse of increase in fuel prices, bad road networks, increase in the prices of  spare parts and general cost of maintenance of their vehicles. The practice does not only drain the passengers financially, but also, unduly delay them, as the drivers pick new passengers at their various stop overs before continuing the journey. 

The effect of this unpatriotic, profiteering act of these drivers on the economy and the suffering masses is so adverse, that something ought to be done about it as quickly as possible. The victims of these drivers are largely petty traders and those of them who are as acquisitive as the drivers, most often increase the prices of the products they sell. For instance, following the recent increase in transport fares, coupled with the inhumane acts of some trotro drivers, some petty traders have marginally adjusted the prices of some assorted drinks. There have been reports, that some energy drinks that went for Four Cedis are now being sold at Four Cedis, Fifty pesewas by petty traders, who have the same profit mentality as these drivers. It is obvious, that these drivers are able to engage in this illegality with impunity, because their activities are not formalized and properly regulated.

It is therefore prudent to call on the driver unions to adopt their own internal control  mechanisms to check this state wrecking behaviour of their members before other service providers resort to do same in revenge. Once this happens, the economy will further break down, to compound the suffering of the already burdened poor masses. The place of these drivers in the socio-economic lives of the citizens is so critical, that they cannot be allowed to continue to act with such magnitude of impunity. In fact, they must be checked in the same manner doctors, nurses, teachers and other service delivery professionals are checked. Enough is enough! It is time all who matter in the transport industry teamed up to ensure proper regulation of this important sector. To this end, Parliament must with immediate effect pass a Parent Act, if there is none, to guide the formation and operations of driver unions. This will empower the unions to adopt their own legally backed internal mechanisms to ensure proper control of these trotro drivers. The sector should also be formalized to ensure, that no driver can operate in public without belonging to a union. It is prudent for the drivers themselves to admit, that if all service providers decide to take advantage of the people who patronize their services, they could be more vulnerable than the passengers they have been bullying and the time to change for the good of all is now.


The writer: BALA ALI,

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