Patrons of commercial motor transport popularly known as Okada have resolved to continue patronizing the trade despite being exposed to a lot of life threatening risks. The venture is gradually gaining grounds as one of the biggest business activity in the country. Workers and students among other patrons of the Okada trade employ the services of operators to beat Accra’s growing traffic. Even though the Okada business is illegal, it appears difficult to clamp down on the trade despite interventions from the Police MTTD and its allied security agencies. This is because it is the easiest and fastest mode of transport in the national capital
During a tour by Gijonlinenews.com to some Okada havens in parts of Accra, the team gathered that patrons are exposed to a lot of life threatening risks. At Ashaiman, Gijonline’s Angela Ababio reports that passengers have little or no alternatives to the Okada due to where she lives. The patron told Gijonline “the Okada is the only means to transport from where I live to town. I stay at Asutware Junction and work in Ashiaman so I use Okada due to the time I leave home for work”. “I know it can be very risky most of the time but I’d rather take an Okada than wait at the bus stop for long in search of a trotro” she added.
Meanwhile, Jadida Kudadjie Morkor also reports that patrons of the trade in Tema have grown to accept Okada as one of the main modes of transport, relegating the traditional taxi and trotro system most of the time. According to her the passengers shared similar observations like their contemporaries in Ashaiman. This passenger who only parted with his first name as John told Gijonline that “Okada is fast and convenient. It is not time consuming because it beats traffic so you get to your destination in a very short time unlike a trotro or taxi”
This passenger is nonetheless not also oblivious of the risks in riding on an Okada. He concedes that dangers are overwhelming to both the rider and his passenger. He admits “many people who do not wear the crush helmet die in motor accidents most of the time”. “We also have body aces and waist pains as a result impact of the bike in potholes and bad roads”.
The team also gathered that ladies decry the effects of the wind on their dresses and exposure to dust on the roads which spoils their makeup while posing health challenges to them.
Even though unpleasant, that is a reality that some commuters experience in parts of Accra and its outskirts. Transport experts have attributed the menace to an increase in vehicular population on the city’s already inadequate roads.
Story by: Jadida Kudadjie Morkor