Helloooo Ghana people, it is obvious that majority of Ghanaians would want to own a car so as to make transportation more convenient. But if you have a suitable and lucrative job like mine but doesn’t pay well in Ghana for you to afford a car, then just as myself, you will always be a regular customer in a “Tro-Tro” van unless you have an alternative.
I am pretty sure by now the “Dadabees” will be wondering what “tro-tro” is whiles the wannabes will be pretending to have never hopped into a “tro-tro” van before…but hey, let me tell the “dadabees” what “tro-tro” is.
The origin of the name “Tro-Tro”, in Ga language the word “tro,” means three pence [pence being the penny coins used during Ghana’s colonial days].
In the colonial days, the mass transit vehicles charged passengers three pence per trip, and thus were referred to as“tro-tros”, and the name have struck ever since.
The “tro-tro” system works around a tenet central to Ghanaian society. There’s no schedule, no map outlining routes, no gentility – you just have to wait at the side of the road for the right one to come along then oh ya! – you join.
Even though “tro-tro” vans are licensed by the government, the system is self-regulated by individuals.
Having enlightened the lucky ones who have never experienced the “tro-tro” palava, anyone who ever visited Ghana whether for the first time or subsequent times and needed to move around am sure would not and cannot miss out on the most affordable “tro-tro” transport.
To many the “tro-tro” might not always be expedient but mine! trust me it sure will make your day on a very bored and hectic working hours, but don’t try it early in the morning when you are quick-tempered like a good friend, Daniel Adu-Darko who sometimes find excuses to report to work early morning due to delay tactics played by “tro-tro” drivers or the “tro-tro” mates [conductors] using strategies to keep to their selves Danny’s penny as change from the fare he pays.
From the argument over fares, the misunderstandings of utterances, the rudeness of “tro-tro” conductors to the outbursts of passengers over the driver’s speed or slowdowns, one cannot help but feel amused.
Even if you are at a bus station, and lucky enough to find a “tro-tro” going in your direction, you must still wait. No matter if it’s a broiling thirty five degrees, and you’re sticking to your neighbours’ arms, and the plastic seat. The driver wants to make as much money as possible, so the bus doesn’t take off until it’s full.
Boarding a “tro-tro” is based on insider knowledge and decoding the code is the challenge. What do I mean by that? Unhelpfully, “tro-tros” don’t have signs indicating their destination. The onus is on the passenger.
For instance you want to go somewhere along the route to Kwame Nkrumah Circle [Accra’s central bus station]. You have to stand at the shoulders of the road and make a circle sign in the air with your finger. You wait until you see a “tro-tro” mate making a similar sign out the window, yelling “circle, circle, circle” to indicate your direction.
But funny enough, some “tro-tro” mates ignore to make the circle sign out the window; instead they will be yelling the same circle as “sex-cle, sex-cle, sex-cle”. It rimes though…or?
“Tro-tros” truly reflect the religiosity of Ghanaians. Many of them carry spiritual messages: “Come to Jesus,” “Have you prayed today?”, “Only Jesus”, I have even seen “God’s Tro-tro” grace the streets of Accra, as if its sole duty were to spread the word of God.
Nonetheless, being a regular “tro-tro” customer, I can frantically tell you that, the irony of the “tro-tro” is that they tend to over speed when not necessary and in fact when passengers don’t need it but rather slow down when passengers could do with some speed.
I have witnessed many funny occurrences in “tro-tro” but on that rainy Monday morning, I boarded one of such “tro-tros” rather to my disappointment. I was hoping the driver could use some speed that morning since I was already running late. I boarded this “tro-tro” which seemed to be moving only for it to stop at the next bus stop and start calling for passengers.
Although is the norm but normally it was just for a few minutes and then it was on its way again but it was not to be so on this rainy morning.
We stood there for a couple of minutes then five, ten…by which time other passengers who were running late like me began to look at their watches anxiously.
I was extremely worried because my news editor doesn’t want to miss his morning stories right after 6’Oclock news.
Twenty minutes after six I began to murmur but the “tro-tro” driver and his mate seemed the least perturbed. This made the passengers angry as some began to hurl insults at them; others took more drastic measures to get off the “tro-tro” since they have not paid but I had and there is no way the stubborn mate will refund my money to me.
One of such who got-off the “tro-tro” was a gentleman neatly dressed in a white shirt, a tie and a pair of pants. This gentleman slipped while leaving the “tro-tro” because the exit to the car was wet and landed in a pool of muddy water which had gathered due to a pothole on the road.
Some laughed uncontrollably as others sympathized with him and helped him to his feet but –hey- this was not what amused me.
One of those who laughed uncontrollably was the driver’s mate and this unknown to everyone annoyed the poor gentleman so as people sympathized and helped him up he was just trying to position himself to do what he had in mind and before the mate could say jack he had a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. kind of blow landed in his face.
Eventually the fight was stopped by other “tro-tro” mates and those of us who were still aboard the tro-tro had to join another trosky which was sorted out but hey! I had some good laugh and all those nerves which had knotted in my shoulders due to my lateness were all gone.
My friends when next you board a “tro-tro” brace yourself because you never know what it has in store for u. But again make sure your boss is as friendly and understanding as mine or else you will be in trouble for lateness. Hahahaha adieu fellas!
LONG LIVE the TroTro!!!
Source: King Edward Ambrose Washman Addo