Posts Tagged passenger

Public Transport Hygiene

Passenger behind: ‘Boss, can you give the money to the mate for me?’

[You take money from passenger ‘A’ and hand it to mate. You do it for about three more passengers]

Passenger ‘B’ on your left: *cough* *cough* [rummaging for a handkerchief] ‘Oh sorry’

[You wipe a light spray of spittle or mucus or some other bodily fluid that landed on your left cheek after present passenger sneezes or coughs without covering their mouth]

Passenger ‘C’ on right: ‘chips seller, give me 50 pesewas worth of ripe plantain chips’ *starts eating chips without washing hands*

These are normal scenarios that occur more often than we take note of. They happen so often that we are not even bothered beyond the scowl at the inconvenience of the situation at the moment with little after-thought given to them; neither do we take any actions to remedy the health risks we were exposed to. What do we care that someone just coughed a dry-cough in the seat behind us? We’d sooner cover our noses when there is lot of dust ahead than when someone coughs or hawk phlegm. 

Airborne diseases and petty infections always come to mind whenever I think of trotros. All the passing of money from one hand to the other, people’s sweat rubbing on your shoulders, spray of spittle and cough in the air makes me think: Could I have picked up the flu/cold from another passenger on the trotro? How much do I expose myself to tuberculosis when I sit in a fully packed trotro? Am I exposing myself to cholera by drinking ‘pure’ water or buying home packaged food in traffic or eating with unwashed hands after a typical trotro ride? What about running my hands on the head-rest and other surfaces in the trotro? Is the trotro ever [thouroughly] cleaned and disinfected?

If you are not sure which way to answer, then you need to contemplate taking preventive action against them:

  1. Carry a handkerchief to cough or sneeze in. If everyone on a trotro follows this rule, a lot of airborne diseases can be prevented from spreading [or won’t be acquired].
  2. Carry hand sanitizer for all the handshakes, taking money and passing to mates etc. Wash your hands with soap when you get home.
  3. Be wary of the ‘pure’ water, plantain chips and other home-packed foods you buy [and eat] sitting on the trotro.

I believe the above actions are [reasonably] preventive against catching any bacteria or viruses on a trotro or in a public or (large-crowd-in-closed-space) setting.


Trivia: Did you know people who do not use the trotro regularly are more prone to catching infections on them?

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“Driver drop me, driver drop me!”

I don’t know why I haven’t written this loooonnng ago? Come to think of it I got the moxie to do this Trotro Drama blog after witnessing this incident.

After queuing for what seemed like forever at the 37 station to catch a bus home and sitting through one of the worst traffic jams in this part of the Sahara, my ever wandering mind couldn’t resist coming up the next bad scenario to cap it all.

—what if this bus starts overheating? or the clutch burned?

—what if the engine died and the bus has to be pushed?

All the above were possibilities if you’ve had some experience with trotros and the conditions were right; grinding bumper to bumper traffic tend to expose these weak vehicles.

Thankfully non of these things happened, actually, my luck got better. I got a private show of sorts.

This dude sitting next to me has been sleeping all through the trip and suddenly roused, looking out of the bus bewilderingly in search of a landmark to orient himself. Squinting hard but still unsuccessfully he called out to the mate sitting 45 degrees behind him and this conversation ensued:

Passenger: Mate! Mate! are we at Achimota yet?

Mate: We pass Achimota

Passenger: Didn’t I tell you I’ll drop off at Achimota? You took Achimota fare and you forgot to tell me when we got to Achimota

Mate: Why you blame me? [aside] He want insult me and if I insult am some, he go say mate people be bad

Passenger: Because it is your job

Mate: You pay only transportation, now you dey bed, why me I no sabey sleep some?

[This exchange happened within a space of a minute] [I’m smiling to myself all through the exchange]

I could hear the passenger’s mind ticking in contemplation of whether to get off at Lapaz or midway.


The passenger blurts out “DRIVER DROP ME, DRIVER DROP ME” [drawing everyone’s attention as the driver pulls over]

He mutters and shakes his head as he gets down, “Can’t people sleep on the bus anymore?”

[All the passengers burst into laughter]

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