Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t take tro tro.
Tro tro are the buses that average Ghanaians rely on to get around town. Tro are owned by individuals who may or may not be former army officers. They run from 4:30am to 6:30pm. It’s pretty hard to find them after 7pm.
Tro are extremely economical. Teresa can get from her home in Kasoa to my office in East Legon for 4 cedis ($2). That ride would cost 30 cedis ($15) by taxi.
It’s one of the things that I will not do no matter how long I stay here. (Ok, maybe I’ll do it on my last day here.) Sometimes I’ll see white NGO ladies/men in them. Have some self-respect, is what I think when I see them. Your flight to Ghana from the US was $1,800 (3,600 cedis) to $2,500 (5,000 cedis). You can’t be so poor that you care whether you spend 0.50 cedis or 5 cedis ($0.25 vs $2.50).
Keep in mind that I did not come to Ghana to gain cultural experiences. I don’t like taking buses in my own country… Why would I travel 10,000 miles to begin taking (African) buses?
Tro have several things that make them unattractive.
- You have to know Accra/Tema pretty well; they do not have a sign explaining the route they will be taking. For instance, the only thing offered is a guy yelling, “Cir, cir, cir” for Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra Central.
- They stop for anyone on their route so a ride that should take an hour could take more than 2 hours.
- I like air-conditioning and/or breeze. I find 20 people to a bus not conducive to fresh air
- Tro do not look like they would survive an automobile accident particularly well
- Teresa tells me there are thieves who operate near the main stops and pickpockets who may sit with you in the bus
One advantage: it’s the one place where the Ghanaian and the obruni price is the same.