1. Research Your Route
Unfortunately there is not as yet a Trosky.com website to visit and plan your route by, so ask for advice from people who may have used the route before. Preferably do this before you head to the bus-stop: asking a stranger is only a final option (especially at night).
2. Assume the Position
Where you stand to wait for the next vehicle means everything during peak hours. Observe order in the chaos of how trotro drivers park, anticipate where the next one will 'land' and position yourself accordingly.
3. "It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder..."
Don't stand there like some posh ponce prince(ss) waiting for the trotro to park right in front of you, or for one the boarding of which does not involve a skirmish. The next trotro with spaces left that travels on your route may take half an hour or more to arrive. While boarding trotros is usually a rather sober experience, you may at times need to show your off your inner ghetto bastard. Drop elegance and sophistication: run and push yourself aboard. Or stand there and look glamorous: your choice.
4. Don't Expect Much from the Mate
Every trosky is manned by a driver and a mate: one drives, the other announces the stop, takes fares, ignores passenger complaints, etc. The Mate is not a customer service guru. Neither is he there to hold your hand, engage in small talk with you or wipe your wet bottom. There are too many of you fools for him to remember, so it is your responsibility to ask what the fare is in advance, to remember how much you gave, how much you are owed and to remember to collect that change and check that it's the right amount. Also, don't expect him to remember where you said you were getting down. Shout 'mate' as you are getting close and remind him. Remember: you've already given him your money and are of no further use to him. In fact, you are occupying a seat that could be filled with another behind..
5. Driver's License Be What
Remember that game 'Crazy Taxi'? Well, they should make one for the more advanced gamer called 'Crazy Mutatu' (Kenyan for trotro). I've been to two other African cities this year - Lagos and Nairobi - and the story is the same as it is here in Accra:
Trotro. Drivers. Drive. Crazy.
Staring out of the window, I've come close enough to kiss passengers in other vehicles. Troskies have no regard for parking rules and spaces. They only understand 'brake', 'accelerate' and "give me money": a simple operation that gets you from A to B. Often alive.
6. Wear Clothes
A friend of mine recently heard a cautionary tale in church of a lady whose beads were showing (many Ghanaian women wear beads around their waists as an adorment to enhance their curves) and whose jeans - designed, no doubt, for the Caucasian behind - were riding a lil' low as she boarded a trotro. At some point in the journey, a passenger to her right looked at the one to her left and said "fa n'adze ma no." ("give back what you took from her.") The other passenger ignored him but the man insisted: "w'anfan mma no a, me ka" ("if you don't give it back, I'll tell everyone.") The accused passenger got down at the next stop, at which point the other turned to the lady and explained to her something that made her freeze in shock and then burst into inconsolable hysteria:
Apparently, the man had walked away with her womb.
Enjoy your trip.