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Ho’s 800 tricycle taxis: Menace or service?

BY: Alberto Mario Noretti
Tricycle taxis rule on Ho roads
Tricycle taxis rule on Ho roads

Waiting by the roadside for a taxi to work or other places in Ho these days is often an exercise in futility as the number of taxis is reducing rapidly, while tricycle taxis have virtually taken over the roads of the municipality.

There are now 800 tricycles on the roads, with only 200 of the traditional taxis left for commuters.

The tricycles, popularly known as ‘Mahama Can Do’, charge GH¢2 per trip as against GH¢3 by the taxis.

Many users of the tricycle taxis say aside from the fare difference; they also enjoy so much fresh air while commuting.

In recent times, however, public concern has been mounting over the danger the tricycles pose on the road.

Teenagers

The tricycles are mostly operated by teenagers, some as young as 15, with no knowledge whatsoever of traffic regulations.

Some of the operators who usually wear untidy boxer shorts and singlets are often very rude to their passengers at the least opportunity; for instance, if they do not have a change to give to them.

Other operators of the tricycles wear jeans shorts, which they pull down beneath their buttocks to reveal their squalid underwear while spotting dreadlocks.

Also, the tricycles veer from one lane to the other without any consideration for other road users.

Fatalities

On Christmas eve last year, a tricycle which was moving from Ho towards Sokode with three commuters on board, suddenly made a U-turn and ran into an oncoming tipper truck, resulting in the death of the commuters instantly and the rider died later in the hospital.

According to the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTD), there were six deaths and 24 injuries from road accidents involving the tricycles in Ho and some nearby areas in the Volta Region, this year.

In times of severe weather conditions, the wind carries the tricycles into gutters.

Last year, the police said the perpetrators of crimes such as robbery and rape in the municipality used tricycle taxis for their nefarious activities.

A case in point is the notorious serial rapist and robber, Prince Edu, who was finally caged for 92 years in February 2021 for his crimes.

He confessed, prior to his incarceration, that he often hopped onto a tricycle taxi which had a woman on board at night and then dragged her out at knife or gunpoint into the bush before raping her and taking her money and cellular phone from her.

While some argue that the tricycle taxis are offering jobs to young people, others say they are keeping them away from school.

Aside from the dangers they pose on the roads, the tricycles are also creating other social problems such as waywardness among teenagers.

In a decisive move, the municipal assembly recently summoned the riders, suppliers and owners of the tricycles to a meeting and made it clear that the dangers posed on the roads by the tricycles could no longer be tolerated.

The Municipal Chief Executive, Divine Richard Bosson, said a task force from the assembly was working jointly with the MTTD, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and National Road Safety Authority to restore sanity on the roads.

“This means, underage children, will not be allowed to operate the tricycles, likewise adults without valid licences,” the MCE said.

But for now, the shaky tricycles are enjoying a field day on the roads of Ho, as many taxi owners have sold their vehicles to scrap dealers in the growing absence of passengers.