TroTro – The Economics of it all / Trotro Economix


Whenever I go to the trotro station, or join one by the road side or even struggle to get one, my mind quickly goes back to some of my economics classes and I begin to understand the trotro driver better.

This post seeks to make the point that trotros operate in a market economy as well as a monopolistic economy and I will give scenarios to support that assertion and maybe we will all begin to understand how the trotro driver operates.

Every passenger is important to the trotro driver or otherwise, depending on the scenario and trotro drivers operate in ways to maximize their fare by filling filling their bus on every trip in order to make a decent ‘sale’ at the end of the day.

Competitive Market – Trotro driver A is competing against all other trotro drivers plying the Kaneshie to Mallam route. Ergo, he’ll doodle and stop at every point on the road to pick every and any passenger [load bearing kind or slow-to-walk-to-the-bus kind] till the bus is full. In this market, there are many passengers and many trotros that one passenger/trotro doesnot make a difference.

Monopolistic Market – Trotro driver A is the only trotro plying Kaneshie to Mallam route. Before the bus leaves its destination, chances are it is full. If it is not full from origin, then you’re in luck to be by the roadside when it is passing. And you best be animated in flagging the driver or better be standing at a point he can reasonably/ safely stop to pick you up or the driver will just ignore you and pick the next passenger. In this market, there are many passengers and very few trotros that one trotro can make a HUGE difference.

Oligopolistic Market – Trotro driver A is competing against all the other trotro drivers plying the Kaneshie to Mallam route but you’re one of the only few passengers at the station or by the road side. (Very unlikely market for trotro business) You wish!

Having laid the basic foundation of markets [in an Economics sense], holding pricing constant (for trotros)…let us look at scenarios during different times of the day, different weather conditions, location and throw in taxis just to jazz the discussion up a bit.

 

Rush Hour (at the trotro station) – Competitive Market – Trotro drivers are assured of a sturdy stream of passengers and passengers are reasonably assured that a trotro will come around to pick them up.

Rush Hour (taxi) – Monopolistic Market – Sorry to say but taxis are a hot commodity any time of the day but especially so at rush hour, morning and evening. They quote a price, you pay up and get on board or they ride away as if they run on air and don’t even need your money. If you have an emergency, please dig into your emergency stash of money because you’ll have to pay through the nose.

Midday (at the trotro station) – ‘Perfect'(pun intended) Competitive Market – Read this blog post!

Midday (by the road side) – Oligopolistic Market – You’re a prized passenger, trotros will honk at the sight of you and you can afford to stroll to the bus, heck, you can decide not to join the rickety bus after taking a peek at the inside. It is payback time for all that trotro drivers ever did to you.

Rainy day (at the trotro station) – Competitive Market – Be grateful you’ve got roof over your head or you can read {Raining in the trotro?}

Rainy day (by the road side) – Monopolistic Market – You didn’t anticipate the rain, neither did your friend warn you, even the radio didn’t mention it. You count yourself lucky if a passing trotro or taxi doesn’t splash mud on you, or you get a trotro mate who’ll pick a fare at the risk of getting a little wet. Be ready to pay through the nose (again?) to get a taxi to take you to your destination.

Note: If you find yourself in a busy district then you’re automatically in a Competitive Market and the opposite is true!!

So you see, in real life nothing is really one thing or the other….everything has in its nature to be a little big of this and that with varying degree depending on certain conditions.

End of Trotro Economix!!

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