The tricycle revolution

Michael K. Ocansey
May 14, 2019 · 4 min read

Back in 2016 taxis were still very much used in the rural communities we visited. We spotted on several occasions taxis overloaded with both people and goods. Coming from an urban community where this was uncommon, we found this vehicular overloading hilarious and took as many pictures as we could. The police didn’t even bother to stop these overloaded taxis because they understood the terrain. Vehicles were fewer than the people and goods that needed to be transported. As we visited the rural communities more often during the later parts of 2017, we noticed the presence of a new kind of vehicle, the yellow tricycles we only saw in Indian movies. They were in the minority and taxis were still very relevant.

With time we saw many more being introduced. The dynamics changed. People were opting more for the tricycles because they charged cheaper than the taxis and were so small they could drop you at your doorstep. If you’ve ever been to a slum you’ll know how pleasant it will be to get dropped at your doorstep. Taxis were however, still relevant to those who had lots of goods to transport, especially market women. The yellow tricycles couldn’t cart anything beyond your body if you were sharing with other people.

Fast forward a couple more months and we saw the entry of another kind of tricycle. This one more goods friendly. Having spent a lot of time in the rural communities and observed firsthand how life was without these tricycles in contrast with life now that the tricycles are here, we can authoritatively say that these tricycles have positively revolutionized both the rural and surprisingly urban communities, especially among people who cart a lot of goods.

Well, what else do you expect a tricycle with a career to be used for if not for carting goods! Interesting however, are the different kinds of goods that end up in the buckets of these tricycles.

We find this very interesting. This community has a river but no pipe borne water. If you live too far from the river and cannot afford the walk but can afford the tricycle services, they’ll supply you with water.

Cover this tricycle up and we have a delivery ‘van’. Interesting isn’t it? Business is good!

From personal experience this one is a life saver — even in urban communities. The trash collection companies are a lot of the time inconsistent with picking up the trash. They can go weeks without showing up. Well, ‘trashcycle’ got our backs. These guys show up more often. In fact, you can flag one down like a taxi when you see them driving by your gate.

He is either a carpenter or heading to his construction site.

The party folk have also caught on to the tricycle convenience. Need to move some party chairs from the rental company? Just load up the tricycle. While you’re at it why not throw in the mixer and speakers.

On a typical market day these tricycles get super busy carrying anything that gets purchased.

It is amazing the various uses people have put these tricycles to, both in the very rural areas and now the urban areas. Most people I asked cited pricing as the reason they prefer to charter the tricycles. They’re cheaper than the mini trucks and taxis. In the northern parts of Ghana, these tricycles seem to have outnumbered cars now.


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