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If you have ever travelled by commercial bus to a very far place, you would have come to the realization that man was not born to live alone but to live with others. Haha! Let’s go for the ride of your life then. If you don’t enjoy this ride, then I beg either you don’t have a sense of humour or I’m very bad at telling stories.

In the first place, I never knew nor thought that going by Public or commercial vehicle could be interesting at all till I started trekking from Cape Coast to Accra and vice versa. Just imagine joining a van that takes about twenty people who do not know each other but by the time they reach their destinations, some would have become friends and others would become enemies all within a matter of two and half hours.

A Nissan Urvan taking off at one of the bus termnals

A Nissan Urvan taking off at one of the bus termnals

The best time to join the van is at dawn either from Accra or cape Coast. The moment the bus is full, the driver puts his radio on and normally it is devotion time so the gospel tunes would be on. That’s the time you see and hear holy people in their elements. A few minutes into the journey by which time the air condition would have done its work, the bus becomes quiet. As if on cue, all singing and humming ceases.

If you are new to the experience you will first wonder why the sound of the engine keeps changing till the reality dawns on you. Remember that these are people that have not slept well and have had to wake up early in order to undertake the journey. The moment the air condition hits home, most people just fall asleep and my do they snore!

People snore differently and in a bus at dawn they forget where they are and get down to it. Some snore and change gear. While some are gentle, others are hissing while some others are thunderous. Even frogs take back stage when people really get to snore! Haha. I remember one trip, the snoring of a lady so angered another that she intentionally butted as though she had also been asleep.

Nowadays, people complain that our local musicians are not creative at all. My advice to them is to join one of these buses and I bet they would not regret it. This is because the different sounds created as a result of the snores could fire the imagination of our musicians into creating different beats and rhythms. I tell you no lie!

An inside view of one of the buses

An inside view of one of the buses

Of course it’s not everybody that sleeps on board. There are some people who could easily pass for choristers. This is because they could sing along with any song at is that is played on the radio. Ad to whether the words are correct or not, is a different thing altogether. The clever will hum when they realise that they were being monitored. I remember the day an elderly lady sat by me and it was very evident that she knew only the tune but refused to back down and hummed and sang her way to our destination to my utter indignation!

However, this is nothing compared to sitting by a talkative(s). On board on the bus, there are two kinds of talkative namely those that like to show off while on phone and the other being a group of young people with no care in the world who would wag all through the trip to the utter irritation of all others on board. It’s interesting how such people could be so insensitive about others. I mean they do not care whether someone was listening to their conversation or even whether they were disturbing all others.

There was this fine gentleman from whose tone I gather was a Ga who usually sat in the front seat by the driver. He had lascivious laugh and his baritone was such that everybody on the bus could hear his conversation. I deduced that he was cheating on his wife another woman. He would call this other woman when he gets on board the bus and the conversation would not end as he droned, chattered and laughed salaciously till he disembarked. The beautiful is that when the journey is about to end, he would ask the partner to let them pray to thank God for his mercies. Believe it or not, one day, he let the cat out of the bag to the surprise and amusement of all that he was a pastor on course at the University of Cape Coast (UCC).

The funniest encounter I have had so far was when two ‘bulldozers’ went at it full throttle. As they slept, they gravitated towards each other till one’s head lay on the shoulder of the other with their heads touching. The bus continued calmly till it sped over some speed ramps thus jostling and rousing everybody on board. Being aware then that they had slept off, they tried as they were wont to do, to recollect themselves. It was then that the second passenger realized that the one by her has drooled all over her dress. As she tried vainly to clean herself, all the other person could say was ‘sorry’. To the consternation of all, the offended one responded ‘fiti, look at what you have done, bringing tension on board all of a sudden’.

The heartiest event on a ride so far was when three UCC ladies joined from Cape Coast to Accra. My, were the trio were bubbly and lively! Whoa. Ostensibly one of them was celebrating the birthday and they popped champagne right there on board and had themselves a good time! Their first salvo was to the driver to make sure that no vehicle overtook ours and to play some reggae music. The driver duly complied as the ladies sang, bobbed and weaved in their seats. The excitement displayed by the ladies was so infectious that others joined them and indeed everybody on board had a good time for a change.

How could I tell tales of my commercial bus rides and not bring in the law enforcers, the Ghana Police Force.  The personnel of the Ghana Police play a vital and crucial role on our roads. When the police man flags you and asks you to park by the side, you know you have to display colour or endure emotional torture. I recall on one occasion the police stopped the bus at Biriwa.

An MTTU officer testing a driver for alcohol intake

An MTTU officer testing a driver for alcohol intake

Having called the driver out, they talked for a few minutes behind the bus. For some reason the policeman wasn’t satisfied and asked for the boot to be opened after which he opened the bus and looked at the faces of passenger inside and went back. After some interminable time, anxious students already late for classes and workers started agitating in the bus. Realising the situation, the driver went to see the policeman once again and this time paid the proper homage before he allowed the bus to continue its journey. It’s during such times that you will realize that ‘commercial bus ride na waa’.


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