You are here: HomeNews2016 12 23Article 496456

General News of Friday, 23 December 2016

Source: Today Newspaper

Legalise our business - 'Okada' operators appeal

Scores of commercial motorbike operators, popularly referred to as ‘Okada, in the capital city, Accra, have appealed to the incoming administration to reconsider the law that bans them from operating commercially.

Road Traffic Regulation set in 2012 stipulates, among others, that: “the licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”

The only exception, according to the regulation, is for courier and delivery services.

Although the Okada business has for some time now been encouraging, a visit to some places in Accra yesterday by our news team painted a different story.

For instance, areas like Abeka Lapaz, Ablekuma, the central business district (CBD) of Accra and Kwame Nkrumah Circle, where the business was predominant, Today observed that patronage was very low.

“In fact the Okada business is not booming in Accra now,” some of the Okada riders lamented when they were being interviewed by our news steam.

They attributed the development to the law banning them from operating as commercial transport.

According to them, though their business was illegal, they also have to survive.

One of the Okada riders, who gave his name as Issak Odai, said: “we beg the incoming government to revisit some of these laws and legalise the Okada business for us.”

“There are no jobs in the country; things are hard, and; we need money to feed our children and families,” they further added.

Another rider, who gave his name as Christopher Nii Nayi, intoned: “we are not bad people and our business is genuine. I have two kids and my wife is pregnant. If not for this business how would I be taking care of them?”

At Abeka Lapaz, many of the riders complained that they were frequently being harassed by the police for no apparent reason.

“Our business (Okada) should be legalised because some of the roads in Accra are bad and only Okada can ply these roads,” Sani Usman stressed.

On the question of why their patrons do not use helmets, the Okada operators told Today that most passengers do not like helmets.

According to them, the reason was because they (the passengers) claim they feel uncomfortable when they wear helmet.

Some of the passengers, the Okada riders further explained, do not like helmets “because of sweat since many people use the same helmet.”

However, they said those who ask for helmet are always provided.

According to the Okada operators, their charges depend on the distance.

For example, they disclosed that they charge between Ghc2.00 to GH5.00 for short distances whilst the fee for long distance is between Ghc15.00-Gh20.00.