Banning Tricycle Taxis in Kumasi’s Central Business District Sparks Controversy

African News

The decision by city authorities to ban tricycle taxis from operating within the central business district (CBD) of Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, in August 2023, triggered a vehement backlash from operators and sparked a series of protests. The clash between the tricycle taxi operators and law enforcement, including police officers and Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) guards, resulted in road blockades and property damage.

Twelve protestors were arrested on August 8 and subsequently appeared in court, facing charges of unlawful property destruction. The ban was imposed due to the operators’ consistent violation of traffic regulations and the significant traffic congestion they caused in areas like Adum, Kejetia, and Dr. Mensah.

Randy Wilson, Head of Transport at KMA, explained that the move aimed to “sanitize the central business district” and noted that Ghana’s road traffic regulations (LI 2180) prohibit motorbikes or tricycles from offering fare-paying passenger services. However, given the high youth unemployment rate, authorities chose not to completely ban their operations but rather restrict their movement as part of a transportation reorganization strategy.

Tricycle taxis, also known as “trotros,” play a crucial role in Kumasi’s transportation landscape, providing affordable mobility and creating jobs for thousands of operators. However, the ban on their entry into the CBD has raised concerns among operators, with Al-Azbat Alhassan Sidi, the Ashanti regional PRO of Tricycle Operators Association, advocating for the issuance of operating stickers and regulation instead of a blanket ban.

Enforcement of the ban appears to be effective, with no tricycle taxis operating within the restricted zones, including Adum, Kejetia, and Dr. Mensah. Many tricycle operators have relocated to areas like the race course market just outside the restricted zones. City authorities, meanwhile, continue their efforts to reduce congestion, with plans to issue stickers to authorized ‘trotros’ and taxis operating in the CBD as part of their decongestion strategy.