Tro tro

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For the cartoon see Trotro.
Tro tro in Accra
Lapaz Ablekuma Kasoa trotro mates call for passengers

In Ghana and neighboring countries tro tros are privately owned minibus share taxis that travel fixed routes leaving when filled to capacity.[1] While there are tro tro stations, these vehicles for hire can also be boarded anywhere along the route.[2]

Operated by a driver and a conductor (who collects money, shouts out the destination, and can also be called a "mate"), many are decorated with slogans and sayings, often religious.[3] Fewer tro tros operate on Sundays.[4]

The term is believed to derive from Ga tro, "threepence", the conductors usually asked of tro tro "three three pence" formerly the standard fare around 1940s in the era of the British West African pound and Ghanaian pound.[5][6]

A popular means of transport[edit]

Used by 70% of Ghanaian commuters, tro tro is the most popular form of transport for work and shopping in the country as of 2010.[7] Large buses also provide public transport in Accra, Ghana, as of 2008[AICD 1] and are patronized by people of different social classes.[8]

A Sprinter Bus, with a Tro Tro mate


In Ghana tro tro are licensed by the government, but the industry is self-regulated.[2] As of 2008 there was no independent transport authority in Accra, Ghana.[AICD 2]

In the absence of a regulatory environment, groups called syndicates oversee minibus share taxis like tro tro in Africa. These may collect dues, set routes, manage terminals, and fix fares.[AICD 3] In Accra as of 2008 such syndicates include GPRTU and PROTOA.[AICD 4]

Despite the regulatory challenges, the service would lend itself to some regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed it to record significant levels (98%) of compliance to guidelines on physical distancing, although guidelines on individual use of face masks were more difficult to enforce. [9]

Other country[edit]

In Mérida, Venezuela, Trolmérida known as tro tro by residents.

See also[edit]

A mate looking out a tro tro.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Report from the Field: The Tro-Tro – An Essential Mode of Transport in Accra, Ghana by Susan Blaustein., 9.29.2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ghana: The Bradt Travel Guide (page 69) Philip Briggs. Bradt Travel Guides, 2007. 4th ed. 416 pages. 1841622052, 9781841622057 (Google Books)
  5. ^ "tro-tro - Definition of tro-tro in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English.
  6. ^ "TroTro: Transport for the People by the People".
  7. ^ City of Accra, Ghana consultative citizens' report card (page 113) Report No. 55117-GH. The World Bank. 2010/06/01.
  8. ^ Sarfo, J. O. (2016). ‘Bone-shakers’ and contemporary ‘Tro-Tro’ in Ghana: Implications for traffic and transport psychology. Africa: History and Culture, 1(1), 15-20. Retrieved from:
  9. ^ Dzisi, Emmanuel Komla Junior; Dei, Oscar Akunor (2020-08-03). "Adherence to social distancing and wearing of masks within public transportation during the COVID 19 pandemic". Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives: 100191. doi:10.1016/j.trip.2020.100191. ISSN 2590-1982.
  1. ^ Stuck in Traffic; Urban Transport in Africa (page xiii) Archived 2012-09-17 at the Wayback Machine Ajay Kumar & Fanny Barrett. Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic in cooperation with the World Bank, January 2008. Draft Final Report.
  2. ^ Barrett & Kumar, page 14
  3. ^ Barrett & Kumar, page xiv
  4. ^ Barrett & Kumar, page 9