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Camboo Diaries; The Users Plight

The tricycle is a three wheel vehicle which conveys people from one place to the other. Since its inception, it has brought some relieve to commuters within the Northern Region and the Upper West Region. Before these tricycles came along, individuals had to walk long distances, unless of course they had their own means of transport. This vehicle has gained popularity with names such as “yellow yellow” in Tamale and “John Mahama Camboo” in Wa.” Outside the country the tricycle is also very popular in Nigeria where they call it “keke.”

Talking about my experience as a user in both regions; I can say that there are some differences in the use of this vehicle in the two regions. In Tamale for instance; I do know for sure that they take three in the back, two in the front plus the driver making it six. To be able to accommodate that many people in such a small vehicle, additional seats are fixed by the sides of the driver’s seat. Although such cramping in the vehicle’s uncomfortable, commuters have little or no choice. Here in Wa, drivers of the “Mahama Camboo” mostly pick three in the back and one more person in the front (although this does not happen often); this affords patrons of the “Camboo” some comfort.

The issue of pricing is a very controversial one. In Tamale, users of the “yellow yellow” are charged according to their commuting distance. So if it’s a short distance you are bound to pay a smaller charge and vice versa. The best part is that these charges are usually within the 1 GHC range; this same cannot be said for users and drivers here in Wa. Here, more often than not, it’s a flat 1 GHC even for the shortest distances. The further you go, the higher you pay. Now these charges have been described as frivolous by most commuters in Wa. Unlike trotros and taxis where they have unions where absurd prices can be reported, these “Camboo” drivers have no union, so they do as they please.

I am not interested in comparing which is better and which is not, they all have its pros and cons; but my question remains; are these “Camboo” drivers and owners under any rules and regulations?

Despite all the hustle it comes along with, these tricycles have come to stay although taxi drivers fought it initially. It saves time and is readily available anywhere you find yourself without your own means of transportation.

Written by:  Apibil Dieu Donnee

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