Rickety vehicles to the medicine seller: 20 things every ‘Trotro’ passenger should expect

Source The Ghana Report

Anyone who lives in Accra or visits the city has at some point travelled by trotro since it is the most popular form of transportation in the city.

Since it emerged in the 1960s, trotro has become the easily accessible transportation for over half of the populace in Accra.

In fact, it is a necessary evil, especially for those who do not own cars.

What is the Trotro?

The trotro is a privately owned commercial minibus that plies fixed routes in the city, mostly boarded at various stops along the route.

Its name is believed to have originated from the old Ga word meaning three pence.

Popularly called ‘troski’ by some millennials and Generation Zs, the typical trotro is rife with drama and bizarre happenings daily.

Commuters are introduced to different experiences and characters that are sometimes etched in their memories for months and even years.

A trotro journey will expose one to new friends, life partners, laughter, and safety as well as instant enemies and some dangers.

Here we take a look at 20 of such phenomena, that people who are first-timers may experience and regular commuters can relate to.

1. The rickety vehicle

One cannot board trotro regularly in Accra and not experience the old rickety buses. Somehow, the owners send the new and healthy buses on long journeys while intra-city passengers are saddled with overused ones.

Some of these trotros are so worn out one can see the road beneath their feet while in transit.

When you find yourself in one of these on a rainy day, there is a possibility you will arrive at your destination fully drenched due to their leaking roof.

2. The ready-to-fight driver

These drivers are very quick-tempered and easily offended. To them, every other road user, especially other drivers are a threat.

Passengers are likely to witness their heated exchanges with others and sometimes the expletives they so freely throw around.

Some even fight with their conductors(mates) at slight provocation. Even passengers can incur their wrath when they are triggered.

3. The driver that knows all the shortcuts

Some trotro drivers seem to operate with a special map that magically directs them to all the routes that shorten the journey.

They somehow manage to arrive at their destinations faster, which excites most passengers at least, until they end up in the wrong location.

4. The fight over change

Fighting over change is a like tradition in an Accra trotro. Regular commuters are no strangers to this phenomenon.

Passengers who believe a mate has shortchanged them often get into loud arguments and sometimes things get physical between the two.

Sometimes other unlucky passengers get caught in the crossfire by attracting stray blows in the process.

5. The rude mate

The bus conductors, popularly called mates sometimes do more than calling for passengers and collecting fares.

Sometimes they can be overly rude and disrespectful, which makes some passengers wonder what they did to warrant the treatment.

6. The loud radio

According to the unwritten rules of Ghanaian commercial vehicles, a radio is compulsory. A trotro without a radio? Treason!

Commuters are treated to music, sports commentary or news on the loud stereos as they journey around.

7. The front passenger who wants to sit close to the door at all cost

These special passengers prefer to sit by the window in the front seat no matter the time of day.

They don’t mind getting into a fight with other passengers to protect that position.

8.  The preacher

Trotro preachers are a common phenomenon one experiences on a commute.

These evangelists diligently obey the Bible’s command in Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.

These preachers are truly determined as they tenaciously continue with the evangelism despite the outright rejection by some passengers.

9. The medicine seller

Medicine sellers are common sights in Accra trotro. These self-made pharmacists seem to possess medical knowledge that is hidden from all other doctors globally.

They normally advertise one particular medicine that can miraculously heal every known and unknown disease.

A medicine that is for stomach aches can also heal, HIV, gonorrhoea, hepatitis, Corona Virus and many others.

10. The passenger who feels entitled to more space

Almost every trotro passenger has met or will meet that passenger that will not shift on the seat to allow others some comfort.

Travelling on commercial vehicles is normally not one of the most comfortable things in Accra but such a passenger can completely snatch the little luxury one can dream of in the trotro

11. The nosy passenger

These are passengers most often very friendly individuals who initiate conversations with others. But they cannot seem to mind their business.

They mostly will go the extra length to see what you are doing on your phone without considering your privacy.

12. The child who wants a part of your snack

Grabbing a snack after a long busy day in a trotro is one of the little luxuries commercial buses afford commuters.

But that moment can be cut short by the child in the next seat.

These children will make a fuss and even cry until the ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle’ hands over their snacks to them.

Anyone who refuses to be a good ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle’ to these children may be branded wicked.

13. The parent with more than one child

Have you ever had to squeeze your whole body into a tiny corner to make another person comfortable even if they did not ask for that favour?

Some parents with about three or four children in a commercial bus may put other passengers in a similar situation.

14. The chatter-box passenger

Some passengers will talk from the start to the end of the trotro journey no matter the distance.

Some may find these people annoying while others enjoy the interesting stories these passengers have to share.

15. The shopping passenger

The busy life in the capital city allows some people to buy some petty essential stuff only when they commute on a commercial vehicle.

An Accra trotro passenger is almost assured of sitting beside one of such persons while they go about their day.

16. The handsy lovers

Ghanaians normally shy away from publicly showing affection towards their spouses due to culture. But it is not surprising to meet two lovers who cannot keep their hands away from each other in a trotro.

These couples often ignore all the stares and gawks from other passengers and get lost in their own world.

17. The crying child

Children act on impulse and will express their emotions wherever they find themselves. So it is quite normal to see a child screaming their lungs out in tears while on board a trotro.

Some will maintain the same energy almost throughout the journey while other passengers berate the guardian.

18. The sleeping passenger

The only time some commuters get to rest is in a commercial vehicle. And Accra trotro normally has a lot of such passengers.

There are instances where some people sleep and wake up only after they have passed about ten bus stops after theirs.

19. The pickpocket

One good piece of advice people normally give to trotro passengers is to keep your belongings close to you.

There are some unscrupulous ones whose main purpose on the commercial vehicle is to steal, especially mobile phones and money.

20. The Police stops

Trotro drivers love to break every law on the roads in Accra. The police on the other hand are almost always available to check them.

It is likely for a passenger to experience about two police stops on a trotro journey depending on the distance.


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