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21.05.2019 Business Features

'Okada' Business: A Threat Or An Aid

By Ama Beimkwe Attafoe
'Okada' Business:  A Threat Or An Aid

The use of motorbikes for commercial purposes popularly known as ‘okada’ has become a rising business in most parts of the country. In the Greater Accra region, particularly in Ashaiman, motor riders are mostly seen lined up along the roadside, at taxi and bus stations busily hunting for passengers. Many people patronize this 'okada' business because they consider it as faster, convenient and efficient means of transport.

Despite its high charges as compared to taxis and trotro, many people still patronize this "Okada" means of transport.

However, the activities of these commercial motorbike riders in a way are not counterproductive because of how many of them ignore road traffic regulations. Majority of the commercial motorbike riders drive recklessly on the road with a very high speed thereby endangering the lives of their passengers and other road users. Even though they ply on the same road with taxis, trotro and other vehicles, they tend to turn a deaf ear to almost all road traffic regulations.

As a result of this attitude, there has been several motor accidents on the Ashaiman road, particularly at the traffic light junction. Mostly, it happens that when the red traffic light is on and all vehicles stop, pedestrians who want to cross the road see it safe to cross but upon getting to the middle of the road, a motorbike which is supposed to stop as well just comes through the vehicles and if the pedestrians are not vigilant enough they get knocked down by the motorbike.

This usually causes misunderstanding between motor riders and other road users and even sometimes leads to a fight.

In an interview with some residents of Ashaiman, some shared their experience on how they were nearly knocked down by motorbikes on countless occasions when crossing the road, particularly at the traffic light junction. They condemned the business and called upon the government to ban such business because to them it is posing a threat to their lives.

However, others who have also had similar experiences still considered the 'Okada' business to be good but rather the riders should be dealt with when they flout any order but not the entire business abolished.

According to them, even though the 'Okada' riders cause confusion and sometimes charge higher than the taxis and trotro, their patronage makes transportation from one place to another very convenient and void of long traffic queues.

Apart from pedestrians being in danger, many also trade alongside the road.

Speaking to some of these traders they disclosed that the activities of these commercial motorbikes riders endanger their lives a lot so they are always vigilant. Even with that, some of them get knocked down sometimes.

They also complained that the small portion along the road left for them to stay and do their businesses is the same place these motor riders usually pack and haunt for passengers and therefore appealed to the government to do something about the situation.

The actions of these 'Okada' riders is said to be making the streets of Ashaiman insecure for pedestrians and other road users.

Commercial motor riders must be called to order and sanctions applied to those who flout the orders. Speaking to one of the commercial motorists, Clement Nsiah stated that he knows they are supposed to obey traffic road regulations but he sometimes overlooks it when he is in a hurry.

He also disclosed that sometimes the passengers pressurize them to do so because they are in a hurry.

However, this 'Okada' business has not been legalized in the country and many are calling for it to be legalized. But looking at the situation at hand, one can wonder what will happen if this business is finally legalized in the country.