With Accra’s Congestion, Taking His Daughters to School Is a Financial Struggle for Emmanuel
Every day at 5 a.m., Emmanuel wakes his daughters and prepares them for school. Together, they walk five minutes to the nearest bus stop to catch the local bus or Tro tro—a privately owned shared taxi common in Ghana’s capital city. The bus ride from their home in Awoshie, a residential suburb of Accra, to the central business district in Mokola where Emmanuel works is 11 kilometers of heavy traffic. The direct route usually takes 45 minutes, with a 20 minute wait, and costs US $0.45. However, when the traffic along the direct route is severe, Emmanuel pays twice as much to take two buses with shorter routes. To cut costs, Emmanuel often puts one daughter in the other’s lap, saving a bus ticket.
Emmanuel’s biggest concerns about his commute are the time and cost. “Transportation fares could change any time,” he says. “Direct transport from Awoshie to Mokola costs $0.45 and takes 45 minutes. However, when I make these short trips I end up paying $0.93 and it takes nearly an hour and a half to get to work.” Finding a direct route is also a significant challenge. “I find it difficult to get a straight bus from Awoshie to Mokola. It is sometimes very difficult to get access to buses – there is a long waiting time.”
Emmanuel wants to purchase his own private vehicle someday, but currently it’s not in his budget. Owning a private vehicle, he says, comes with status and recognition. “Owning a personal car brings respect and prestige.” With Accra’s urban population growing dramatically, the city faces a pressing need to shift people from private vehicles to high quality public transportation, so that residents like Emmanuel can get where they need to go safely, affordably, and efficiently.