After three months of living in another country everything is normal and you have got used to the things being (quite) different. The same counts for the public transport in Ghana. I had the feeling that the public transport in Ghana is somehow organized, but it is hard to get easily from A to B. It all takes time and as the driver off any vehicle will say – yeah, well the traffic (a commonly used excuse for charging a ridiculous fee for a ride). For instance a 40 km drive – even by ‘highway’- will take at least one hour.
You can find different kinds of public transport in Ghana. If it is an inner city journey you will use a taxi. Taxi’s you can choose from ‘drop’ and ‘shared’. ‘Shared’ means that you normally go from station to station and you pay a set price, this price is for everyone the same and is not subject to bargaining. Which is very useful for ‘us’ – we will not get an ‘obruni-price’. If I go to the CHRAJ office I can take a shared taxi from the village Kwaprow to Science station for 60 Ghana Pesewas and from Science station to Kingsway (where the CHRAJ is located) for 90 Pesewas. For a ‘drop’ it is somehow harder to know what a fair fare will be. If you know where you are going to it is easier to know than when you do not know how far it is. Most cases you will tell the driver where you want to go, he (have not seen any female taxi drivers so far) will tell you how much he wants. Probably the ‘obruni – price’ if you can settle for somewhere in the middle you will be good – or at least that is what we try to do.
From one city, village, community etc. to another you can take a trotro. Trotros are small buses with approx. 12 seats – 4 rows of 3 seats – but since these trotros only go on short distances it will be filled with almost double (at least try to get 4 if not 5 on a row). The fare you pay for a trotro ride is very low, between 1- 3 cedi. We always try to figure out what the others in the trotro pay for the ride, so we know what the price is. We only make use of trotros if we go to a beach just outside Cape Coast.
For a journey which takes more than one hour – for instance from Cape Coast to Accra or Kumasi -you can take a bus, AC ford fan or STC bus. I have not travelled by STC Bus yet, these buses are also called intercities. You can compare these buses with touring buses but then a bit smaller. They have good seats, enough space for your legs and have air-conditioning, the only reason for why I have not travelled by STC bus is that they go on set times and are more expensive than the alternatives (Cape Coast – Accra 20 Cedi). An AC Ford Fan is a Ford with 4 rows of 3 seats, only the back row has 4 seats (Cape Coast – Accra 11 Cedi). As per the name, the Ford buses have air conditioning and there is enough space for your legs/bags etc. What I like the most of the AC Ford Fans is that they have good drivers, they are not driving as crazy as most trotro or buses drivers and they will not pick up people during the ride. The ones we call just buses are looking almost the same as trotros, but they go for a longer journey – in between cities (Cape Coast – Accra 8 Cedi).
The differences between the buses and Ford Fans is that they have no AC and less space. Besides that, they also stop at more places and you can get on or off the buses at any place. The drivers of the buses are also far more aggressive in their style of driving. They will pass other cars with seeing other cars coming and until now it just works out, but sometimes it is scary! In a bus from Ho to Hohoe we were passing a few cars with an ambulance coming from the other side – also passing by the cars and with all his signals on. Our driver kept going until the moment that we either got in an accident with the Ambulance or had to go into the bushes. So the driver choose the bushes (luckily?!)- but this made the bus almost collapse. That was the scariest journey I have had, even more with the knowledge that it was a 3 hour ride and this happened during the first 10 minutes. We survived the journey and another experience richer!