Posts Tagged taxi

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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The trotro driver who cried wolf…


I hope I managed to get your attention with this one…reading to see what new twist I have managed to put on the most popular of  Aesop’s fables: The boy who cried wolf. I am sure by the time you finish reading this post you will realize that I was only drawing an analogy on the morale of that ever popular story.

But do indulge me!

I have lived all my life in Ghana and I know one thing as a certainty about trotro and taxi drivers; they toot their horns for many reasons and one of the main reasons for tooting their horns is NO REASON.

You’ll realize after a few weeks or months of driving or using Ghana’s public transportations that the trotro drivers just love to toot their horns; in the middle of nowhere, with no passenger’s attention to draw….. they just love to toot their horns.

So if you catch yourself looking into your side mirrors to ‘catch’ what the trotro driver is trying to communicate to you, chances are he wouldn’t even be looking in your direction and you’ll soon know better.

So for all the good reasons that the horn was made for, you’ll realize that it hardly serves any of those purposes when it comes to using Ghanaian roads. Thanks to trotro drivers and taxi drivers we have to battle a cacophony of car horns that incessantly pollute our natural sounds, the ipod, office meeting even our thoughts. It is the hum of the capital, a sign that this beast is awake and about her business. smh

The other day I was sitting in yet another rickety trotro praying to get home safely and then our driver starts tooting his horn. At first I couldn’t be bothered to look at his unfortunate object of horn-attack until I realized it was more persistent than the usual random tooting. Raising my head from my phone (reading tweets), I realized he was drawing the attention of another trotro driver whose back swing-doors were opening with the likelihood that the cargo stashed will spill into the road [and possibly cause an accident].

I was surprised that the trotro driver in front of mine didn’t slow down or even acknowledge our trotro driver in any way.

Then it occurred to me….

This is the trotro driver who cried wolf….and now no one pays him any mind.

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A Culture of Insults?


Growing up was fun and sometimes difficult because I couldn’t get away with much. There was no way I could insult a playmate without getting a scolding from a passing adult. There was no way I was going to see or hear an insult on TV or in a movie. There were fewer television programs back then.

I still remember Aku Shika as one of my favourite Ghanaian movies. The movie producers made up for their poor equipment by producing educative, funny and generally better movies. The ever popular Sunday evening Osofo Dadzi was not popular because it was the ‘only’ show but because it remained innovative, comic and stayed true to its moral themes.

This post was inspired by Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood and an observation made by Graham.

Things have definitely changed.

 

It is not now as it hath been of yore;—

Turn wheresoe’er I may,

By night or day,

The things which I have seen I now can see no more.


Are we slowly descending into a Culture of Insults? I think we are! And I’m not even talking about politicians here. I’m talking about the many insults trotro drivers and taxi drivers hurl at each other and other road users. I am talking about the local Ghanaian language movies that sell for cheap and find their way into our homes and broadcast to our television sets. I am talking about all the insults we are taking in and likely to give back after they have festered and can’t be suppressed any longer.

If there is something I hate about public transportation, it is that trotro drivers and their mates insult just about everyone they encounter in the line of duty.

– How many times haven’t trotro drivers honked at and insulted private drivers who are waiting ahead of them at a traffic light? [moments before the light turns green].

– How many times haven’t trotro drivers overtaken and insulted private drivers who [have made the conscious effort to] respect the speed limit, road signs and the zebra-crossing

– I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a trotro driver insult a private driver or a pedestrian just for the sake of it; calling a private driver ‘a privileged *insert expletive*’ is so commonplace that some passengers in these buses laugh or throw in their insults for good measure.

I can’t stand insults in Ghanaian movies, especially those that are meant to incite laughter . Why can’t Agya Koo, Judas and Kyewaa say or do something funny or say something witty?

– Casting my mind back to Kwaw Ansah’s Love Brewed in the African Pot, I wonder where all the smart people in the Ghanaian movie industry went. Can’t we simply produce a comic moment that will be as memorable as the closing scene of the #LBitAP any longer? Without resorting to insults?

– Unless I’m wrong, everyone of these movies is supposed to carry a socio-cultural message. You can check their titles or watch how in the end the good always triumphs over the evil, how Ghanaian traditions are upheld and portrayed in all of its splendour. [the typical Ghanaian storyline]. However, what the audience take from these movies are the many insults. The chain of insults can be heard playing on people’s cell phones and the latest of them are actually discussed.

– You find adults laughing when they hear kids throwing these same insults around because they happen to be quoting Agya Koo or Kyewaa. (And before you think that you don’t fall in this category, remember that ‘this category’ happens to be the majority of the Ghanaian population).

Don’t tolerate this creeping phenomenon. Don’t let us stand by while Ghana descends into a culture of insults.

Reproach a kid you see insulting another kid because that is the Ghanaian thing to do. And, remind an adult to watch his/her language [if the circumstances permit] because that is the Ghanaian thing to do.

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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.

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