Trotro as a means of transportation has been a source of relief for many Ghanaians; especially those of us in urban centres who, for now, cannot afford to pick taxis or own cars. From Ashiaman to Zongolane, and from Nsawam to Sakumono, the use of trotro comes in as relatively more convenient and affordable.
Using trotro as a means of transport sometimes offers us the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with new people and also get to know of some social/current issues prevailing in some communities or in the country as a whole. Eavesdropping into some chit-chats and conversations here and there in trotro sometimes gives passengers something to think about and share with others.
Another interesting bit about using trotro as a means of transport, especially in the mornings and evenings when there are heavy traffic jams, is the fact that one can catch some top-up sleep in the morning or take tots of sleep even before one reaches home in the evenings. Some people also use such moments to either plan/decide on the day's activities or reflect on the events of the day and think of pragmatic steps to be taken, going forward.
Unfortunately, some drivers have decided consciously or unconsciously to disrupt this interesting experience of passengers from time to time. Some drivers have put big and loud speakers under some of the seats in their urvan, 207 or 33-seater buses which often are so loud that one wonders if the car has been turned into a party ground or someone's living room. For instance, in the mornings, during rush hour in traffic, when all is more or less still – no wind, but heat and scotching sun – some drivers tune in to their favourite morning shows, music stations or slot in a CD or cassette and turn the volume so loud that sometimes their own mates (conductors) do not hear passengers when they talk to them or even when the mates are communicating with the drivers themselves.
And my question is why? Why must passengers compulsorily listen in to the radio station and/or programme of the driver's choice? Why must it be so loud? And why should a driver get angry should a passenger request that the volume be turned down? Which one too is this?
Please don't get me wrong. Sometimes, the programmes they tune in to are interesting, they sometimes happen to be the favourite morning/afternoon/evening programme of most of passengers. Sometimes too, even though a passenger may not originally have been interested in the programmes, with time, through the forced-listening, one becomes interested or at least learns something from the programmes. But quite apart from the inconvenience some of the speakers put under some of the seat pose to passengers, I am at a loss as to why passengers should be forced to listen to some music or programme a passenger is not interested in just because he/she is in a bus whose service he/she has paid for?
I'm not saying that the drivers and their mates cannot listen to their preferred programmes by virtue of the fact that they are driving passengers who may not be interested in listening, but I'm saying that they should always try to tune the volume of their sets down. I don't seem to understand why the drivers who are so interested in turning the volumes of their sets so loud do not simply fix the speakers around their seats in the front. I believe that by so doing, they will be able to hear better without disturbing some people who may be taking stock of their lives.
The drivers should try to appreciate the fact that they are in business to serve the interest of passengers who put food on their tables each day, and not to satisfy their own interests. It is also a fact that without the services of trotro, their drivers and mates, workers who work outside their neighbourhoods will be most pitiful. A compromise can however be reached – low volume when there are passengers in trotros!
Dora (Boamah) Mawutor