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Business News of Thursday, 24 December 2020

Source: Ghanaian Times

Christmas 2020: Gridlock boosts ‘Okada’ business

Riders of Okada have seen a sharp rise in patronage Riders of Okada have seen a sharp rise in patronage

Business is booming for commercial motor riders, popularly known as ‘Okada’, in the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra due to heavy traffic.

Commuters have resorted to the use of Okada as a means of easy transportation, especially in the CBD. As the markets are crowded with traders, commuters and shoppers.

There was massive human and vehicular traffic as a result of trading on pavements and parts of the roads, narrowing the roads for drivers and worsening the congestion.

The Ghanaian Times, on a visit to some parts of Accra such as Agbogbloshie and Kwame Nkrumah Circle, saw a mad rush for motorcycles with other commuters waiting long queues at bus stops for hours for vehicles.

Some commuters told the Ghanaian Times that using Okada to places was faster during this festive time.

Ama Dadzie, who trades in shoes, said she came to purchase items to restock her shop but had to rely on Okada to convey the items to Kaneshie after she waited several hours for bus to no avail.

“The rider took GH¢20 as fare from Accra to Kaneshie when he transported my items,” she said.

Another passenger who did not want to be named, said he took an Okada from Agbogbloshie to Dome and the rider took GH¢40.

A rider, Yussif Tanko, said busines was good as he could make between GHC200 and GH¢300 daily.

“On normal days, I can make between GH¢130 and GH¢160 daily,” he added.
Another rider who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he engaged in courier services for people who did not come to town die to the traffic congestion and that he was making good money.

Some commercial drivers who spoke to the Ghanaian Times expressed worry over the annual traffic congestion problem and called on the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) to assist in traffic management.

Mr Kofi Atta, a taxi driver at Circle, said the traffic in town had affected them as commuters preferred Okada to their vehicles.

“Because of the traffic congestion, we the commercial drivers spend a lot of money on fuel, yet we do not get enough passengers to break even, which is not good for our business,” he said.

Despite the fact that 'Okada' operation is illegal in the country, people patronise its services due to its convenient and faster way of getting one to his or her destination when there is traffic congestion.

The police have always been at the heels of Okada riders but they find a way to outwit them.

When contacted on the issue of traffic management during this yuletide, the Director of Operations at the MTTD of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent of Police (SUPT) Dr Sasu Mensah, said more personnel had been deployed to help in the management of traffic and ensure discipline on the roads.

He appealed to the drivers and riders to abide by the road safety regulations to ensure that lives and property were saved.

“Don not park vehicles at unauthorised bus stops, which also contributes to traffic congestions in town,” he added.

The legalisation of Okada or otherwise was a major electioneering campaign issue for both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the run-up to the December 7, 2020, general election.

While the NDC promised to legalise and regulate the operations of Okada since it was a job avenue for its operators, the NPP said it would ban it and provide operators with vehicles on high purchase, as an alternative hob.

With the elections over, only time will tell how Okada would operate, going forward.