By Cecil MENSAH
Barely three years after it was introduced by the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), tricycle has taken over the regional capitals of the three regions in northern Ghana as /he preferred means of commercial transport.
The three regions, namely Upper West, Upper East and the Northern regions, are increasingly seeing young men operating tricycles as a means of commercial transport in a manner similar to the tricycle transport businesses of India and Nigeria.
Business Day Ghana observed during a visit to Wa, Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Bawku and Tamale some youth in the regions doing brisk business by carting passengers from one end to the other and charging a fee in a tricycle.
The tricycles have been nicknamed ‘’Mahama Camboo’’ in appreciation of the role that ex-president John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government played in introducing the machines to the three regions.
In 2015, the ex-president, while on a two-day working visit to the Upper East Region as part of deepening his campaign of “Pursuing the Vision of A Better Ghana Agenda,” entered the region in a tricycle and subsequently launched the use of the tricycles in the region.
Unlike regular taxis, the tricycles do not have uniform colour coding but are easily identifiable, helping operators in doing brisk business at the expense of taxis.
Apparently, they are duly registered and given number plates in accordance with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) act for registering commercial vehicles.
Passengers say the price of riding in the tricycle ranges from one Cedi to five Cedis depending on the distance being covered.
A taxi driver, Abudu Issa, operating in front of the Wa Inter-City STC terminal, says this about the operations of the tricycles in the city: “My brother, now people do not want to patronize the services of taxis in the city and for us to stay in business we have to device a way to load to the areas that are far away from the city.”
The situation is not different in areas like the Wenchi Township in the Brong Ahafo Region. But over there, residents continue to complain about sporadic accidents on the Wenchi-Wa highway as a result of the tricycles knocking down school children when crossing the road.
It is estimated that hundreds of hitherto unemployed youth in the three regions of the north have hooked unto the tricycles just as other young men have taken to the use of motorbikes in the southern sector of the country in spite of its illegality.
Business Day Ghana has learnt that there was an attempt to introduce the use of the tricycles as means of commercial transport in the central business districts of Accra by the main distributor, MASLOC, under the Office of the President but it woefully failed.