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Ban on Cape Coast underage ‘pragya’ riders in force: Patrons unhappy, taxi drivers laud directive

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A lone pragya on the road after the ban came into force

The ban on underage riders took effect last Monday. Although the activities of the tricycle operators offered another means of transportation to residents in the metropolis, they were becoming a nuisance in some cases and creating danger for other road users.
To help regulate their activities, the Cape Coast Metropolitan Security Council at its meeting held on September 15, 2021, agreed on directives regarding tricycle operations in the metropolis.

The directive banned persons below 25 years from operating the tricycles and restricted their movement on the Accra-Takoradi highway.

The security council further indicated that the tricycles should only operate between the hours of 6:00am and 5:00pm daily, stressing that persons who failed to comply with the directives would be dealt with.

Monitoring the turnout of events since the ban took effect, the Daily Graphic observed that most of the tricycle riders who did not meet the requirement had abandoned riding the tricycles.

Police

At some intersections in the metropolis, police personnel have been stationed to ensure that the ban is in full force.

Police personnel who were stationed at the Petrol Roundabout last Thursday morning were seen checking the licences of riders and other requirements the assembly had spelt out.

At other areas, including Pedu Junction, police personnel ensured that the tricycle riders did not cross the highway.

The exercise has also been extended to motorbike riders in the metropolis and the police are on the lookout for persons who have not registered their motorbikes and do not have the appropriate documents.

The Central Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kojo Antwi Tabi, said the exercise was geared towards clamping down on robbery activities in the region.

He said the move would ensure that unregistered motorbikes that were used for criminal activities were wiped out.

“Our men are looking out for unregistered motorbikes in particular to also help us identify bikes that are used for robbery activities,” he said.

Concern

Some tricycle riders, however, described the ban as harsh and inhumane, stressing that it would deprive them of their daily income.

Major concerns raised included the age limit on riders and the time range for their operations.

A rider, Maxwell Kofi Tibu, said “the time they want us to operate is rather unfortunate because most of us are only able to make enough sales from 5pm, as that is the time the traders close and patronise us”.

A 23-year old rider, Prince Açkom, also said: “The age they have prescribed for us is not favourable at all because some of us may not be 25 but we still need to earn a living, so if they stop us from operating then our source of livelihood has been taken away from us.”

Relief

While there were those who felt the ban had compounded the difficulty of commuters who had depended on them for the ease of movement, some taxi drivers in the metropolis have heaved a sigh of relief, saying the ban would ensure that their business was better.

They noted that the influx of the tricycles was gradually pushing them out of business and they were hopeful that the new restrictions would pave way for them to increase their sales.

Some drivers also explained that the ban would reduce the road crashes caused by the blatant disregard for traffic rules by most of the tricycle riders.

A taxi driver, Mr Edward Ntsiakoh, said he saw the ban on ‘okada’ as a welcome development because it would reduce the “near crashes we always have on the roads and also increase our daily sales”.

He stressed that the tricycles had largely affected their means of livelihood, and urged the government to “create other routes for them to ply because they misbehave on the roads and have no regard for traffic rules”.

Meanwhile, stranded commuters at some vantage points have expressed discomfort caused by the ban which affects their daily routine, saying the situation was taking a toll on them.

They noted that due to the ban, it took them a longer time to get the tricycles to transport them to and from their destinations and taxis available were charging beyond what they could afford.

A trader at the Anaafo Market, Madam David, told the Daily Graphic that she had engaged people to help carry her goods from her residence to the market because the tricycles had become difficult to come by since last Tuesday.

“Yesterday for instance, I was at the roadside for more than 20 minutes without seeing any tricycle to take and I had to get people to carry my kenkey to a certain point so I could get a taxi and they also charged above what the pragya would normally charge,” she said.

A student of Oguaa Sec Tech, Olivia Ampem, stated that “I had to walk to Petrol Roundabout from Ntsin hoping to catch up with any tricycle; I was disappointed.

“I was so tired and it was not convenient for me because I usually get the tricycle from my end to school without going through the stress.”

Some residents were of the view that although the ban was aimed at ensuring sanity on the roads and reducing carnage, the situation could give rise to incidents such as social vices since most of the tricycle operators would be left with no viable job options.

Ms Rhoda Anaaba said: “Most of these pragya riders solely depend on this to earn a living and so if that means is taken away from them, they might end up coming into our communities to steal or do anything they can think of to sustain themselves.”

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