Posts Tagged bus

The business of looking for business [literally]

I always thought the trotro transportation industry (if I can call it that) was mainly made up of the car-owners, drivers, drivers-mates and passengers.
But now that I think about it, I think the trotro transportation industry [to an extent] created the ‘kayayei’ and ‘kayahee’ – female and male porters [sub-industry].
It might be only me but I have observed that there is a need breed of male porters in town. They are more aggressive and carry good without using any wheeled contraption or aluminum container; the local porter’s tools of trade.
These porters risk limb and life to get business and they do beat competition to business always. Their competitive advantage in this trade is their ability and willingness to jump on the fender of buses and peek in the back of the bus where load is stowed; literally looking for business.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

BUSTED! Too much information on public transportation

I’ve had 2 interesting experiences these past few days and it just occurred to me that most of us have been taking a lot for granted. I’ve always noted this but it really hit me over the weekend.

Case 1: I was in [front] a cab with 3 women [from a funeral] in the back talking about another lady. In summary, this lady was shagging her best friend’s husband for 10years until the house-maid reported to a neighbour, who helped to ‘catch’ her pants down with the husband of her friend. At one point drawing the driver and I into the conversation, ribbing us about how men can be ‘wicked’.

Case 2: I was in the back of a trotro and this man in the middle seat is talking about the money he was going to deliver to another person. Apparently he was running late. [Not unlike the MTN man calling his burger friend]

Let us look at Case 1:

Anyone who cared to learn the identity of the cheating friend and husband could have found them with the amount of information the ladies were throwing around in the cab.

I gathered the general area of residence of the chatting ladies. Where the subjects of the story lived, their business place and [the fact] that the cheating woman in question was in the business of sleeping around.

Why would anyone discuss such a sensitive issue (bothering on) defamation with total strangers using real names, locations etc.?


Case 2

Who ever does that? Who talks about the amount of money they’re carrying? Any person on the bus could have sent a text message to get him waylaid. Why did he have to mention that he was carrying money, the amount and where he was supposed to meet his friend? Couldn’t he have simply sent a text message?

People who use public transport often give out too much information wittingly or unwittingly

1. Talking on cellular phones

2. Chatting with a friend on the trotro or taxi

3. Chatting with a taxi driver about personal issues/ problems or unwittingly talking money-matters in a taxi. [Taxi drivers have been known to lead armed robbers to houses of people they picked up]

We have to be able to determine whether it is ‘safe’ to discuss something in a public setting or not. Because like in all things we have a choice to make and in this case it is a choice to protect personal information. A decision that might even save your life and property.

, , , , , , , ,


Raining in the trotro?

Just a trotro twist of things this Friday. A Rainy Friday in Accra means a muddy Friday!

The rain started pouring as soon as I got inside the trotro. [Grateful]

Fresh air gets in the bus and in my face and I’m all ready to enjoy a nice trotro ride at a time of the day when it could have been a hot and sticky ride. [Grateful]

The rain is getting in the bus, the passengers by the windows are quickly shutting the windows.


Slowly it gets hot in the bus and there is no chance of the passengers by window opening it a crack because the rain is really pouring at this point. [wishing I was home]

Suddenly one passenger makes a sound, drawing everyone’s attention…drops of water were collecting on the ceiling of the bus and dripping on her…wetting her by the drop. Before long drops have collected on all sagging parts of the ceiling.

People are getting beat by the rain in a bus? Of all places to be beaten by the rain.

Everyone is calling for the mate’s duster (trotro-speak) at this point.

Just when I thought I was one of the few lucky ones, a drop landed on my hand. [wishing I was home x10].

It was literally raining in the trotro at this point…everyone was repositioning themselves to prevent getting wet.

[The passengers were pelting the driver and his mate with questions and they were fielding them as they came, trying to lighten up the mood by blaming the greedy car-owner who doesn’t care]

The rain had stopped by the time I got down. Lucky me!!

Freedom from the heat (and odours)at last; welcome fresh, clean air.

First, it was raining in the trotro and now I have to trudge mud all the way home.

, , , , , ,


Hit the ground running, literally! – Advice from a trotro mate

This is one of the days I’m the only person on the bus. Very few passengers to pick up. About 10pm. So I struck a conversation with the mate. I guess you are not surprised I wanted to know if I could be a mate for a day and what things I needed to know.

Fast forward>>>>> 10mins into the conversation

“….and please don’t jump out of the trotro until it comes to a stop”. He said, smiling and shaking his head.

“What is funny?” I asked. And he said “I remember my first experience of trying to get off this bus whiles it was in motion and what happened to me”.

I was wondering at this point because that was one thing I really love to see mates do – jumping off a moving trotro and cantering and then stopping next to the trotro just when it comes to a stop – The Trotro Mate Stunt.
And it is always beautiful! Something I’ll definitely love to do.

I didn’t know what could go wrong when executing this move, I only figured it would take time to make it look good.

What he told me was a sad story but I couldn’t help laughing with him in the end, after all he’d come to terms with his experience and could see the lighter side of it.

So he narrates his story:

“I planned on getting off the bus at the Odorkor bus stop like the other mates always do. I’d already picked my spot and decided to do a short distance until I was good enough and then show the driver the skills I’d picked up” “Things didn’t exactly go as planned. You can’t believe my surprise when I fell flat on my face as soon as i jumped off the bus” “Here I was, lying flat in the streets of Accra when no one had pushed me out of the bus” “I quickly got up, dusted myself, (discovered a few bruises on my knees and elbows and a small cut on my chin, with my eyes smarting and my ears singing) and run to open the door for the passengers, all this while trying to ignore the jeers and laughter from the few ‘senior’ mates who had seen the whole spectacle. It was not so painful as it was shocking for me”.

“But this is no laughing matter”, I said, after his vivid narration. “Were you hurt badly?”

“Oh no, just a few scratches. Last time a similar thing happened to one of the new mates at the station. ” [laughing and shaking his head]

At this point I had lighten up and was laughing heartily with him and before I could ask more questions, the bus had gotten to my junction……..

……And with that he executed an excellent Trotro Mate Stunt, opened the door with a flourish and said.


, , , , , ,


Things TroTro drivers do – madness on the roads

I was sorting my pictures and videos recently and found this interesting video. I decided to post the video on YouTube

There is not much of a story to this video; I took the shot from my perch in the bus and missed much of the action but I’m sure the video still captures the action fairly.

A bus reversed into on-coming traffic, bumped into the bus I was on, the offending driver did a half-hearted apology to my driver and as in the video, his conductor(Ghana’s equivalent of a mate) got down to bark instructions to help his driver execute this dangerous maneuver. Needless to say, the driver got away with it and my friend/guide made me understand that ‘this is normal, no one wants to sit in a hold-up’.

How is this picture for the Ghanaian equivalent?

This driver simply decided to drive into the on-coming traffic because his lane was jammed. This time I had enough time to take out my camera(with an exaggerated gesture which drew comments/commendation from other passengers and triggered a barrage of insults aimed at the driver).

Am I so unlucky to find myself in these life-threatening traffic situations?

, , , , , ,

1 Comment