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A move by city authorities to ban the operations of tricycle (pragya) taxis within the Central Business District of Kumasi was met with fierce resistance in August 2023.

For three days in a row, the operators clashed with police officers and Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) city guards who were deployed to enforce the restriction directives.

Roads were blocked, and properties destroyed by protestors who were kicking against the ban.

12 of the protestors were arrested on August 8, processed for court the next day, and remanded in police custody for a week by the Akropong circuit court for unlawful destruction of properties.

Why the ban

The disregard for traffic regulations and the intense congestion tricycle taxis cause is one of the reasons why city authorities took a decision to restrict their movement in areas like Adum, Kejetia, and Dr. Mensah.

Head of Transport at KMA, Randy Wilson noted, “the move is to sanitize the Central Business District.”

“The road traffic regulations (LI 2180) in Ghana even forbid the use of motorbikes or tricycle to offer fare-paying passenger services, but considering the high rate of youth unemployment, we do not want to be insensitive by banning their operations in the city, totally. We are just restricting their movement as part of our transport re-organization strategy,” Mr Wilson added.

Influx of tricycles in Kumasi

In Kumasi, they are kings of the road, available in every corner and responsible for moving people from one part of the city to another for a fee.

It is hated by some and adored as a functional means of transport by others.

Tricycle taxi has not only created job opportunities for thousands but has also made the mode of transport easier and more affordable.

Operators plea

For the operators, banning them from entering the business centres will put most of them out of business.

“More than 70% of the over 10,000 riders conduct their commercial activities within the restricted zones. So, banning all of them from operating in the CBD will collapse the business. At least, authorities should issue operating stickers to some of the riders and regulate our activities rather than restricting all of us from working here,” Ashanti regional PRO of Tricycle Operators Association, Al-Azbat Alhassan Sidi argued.

Efficacy of enforcement of the ban

More than a month after the enforcement, there appears to be some success.

A walk in Adum, Kejetia, and Dr Mensah paints a picture of full compliance by the operators.

Not a single tricycle taxi is found operating within the restricted zones.

Most of the tricycles now operate at the race course market, which is a few metres away from the restricted areas.

“The ban has taking a toll on our business. We park at the race course market for several hours before we get passengers. We are praying city authorities rescind their decision and issue some of us with stickers to operate in the CBD,” a tricycle operator, Abdul Majeed pleaded.

Congestion reduction

Congestion within the Central Business District has seen some level of improvement, but city authorities want to do more to further decongest the area.

Head of Transport at KMA, Randy Wilson, said they’ve begun collecting data of trotros and taxi operating in the CBD and will soon limit the number to operate in the area by issuing stickers.

“We’ve started the data collection process about a month ago, and we were supposed to have completed by now and use that to issue stickers and start the enforcement from the 2nd of October. However, we’ve extended the deadline for the enforcement because we are done with the data collection.

“When complete, whoever does not have a sticker can not even enter into the CBD”.

The KMA says it is committed to decongesting the central business district in a sustainable manner.

By Ibrahim Abubakar|AkomaFM|