The Cost of Commute in Accra – Solution?

When we hear of ‘cost’ of something, what easily comes to mind is the monetary value of the ‘something’. Yet, they say, “Time is Money”, thus, how much emphasis is put on our time in terms of its value?

Is commuting in Accra consuming a lot of our time (or money) indirectly or directly?

We pay to commute, via use of public transport or even our own vehicles (buy fuel). But how much time we spend going from our homes to workplaces with the aforementioned mediums, do we convert into ‘monetary’ value, to help us appreciate how much we loose?


First, some assumptions. These assumptions are the bare minimum and for some, depending on how far away you stay from the workplace or your type of work, these assumptions might not hold.

But, let’s assume these are the average.

  • You stay at Dome in Accra (A). You work at East Legon (B) (Accra’s Silicon Valley?)
  • Your worth is 5$ per hour.
  • You work 7 hours a day
  • Public transport (trotros) is your thing
  • You travel to and fro work at peak hours
  • It takes you 1 hour to and fro work each day

This is a huge underestimate. (Is it possible to get from Dome to East Legon via public transport at peak hours in just 30 minutes?)

With the assumptions above in mind, let’s begin.

If you spend 1 hour each day to commute to work (going to work and coming back takes that much of your time daily), for 1 year, you would have spent 10 days just in a vehicle.

If you earn 5$ per hour, you would have spent 1,200$ each year, simply by moving from point A to B in Accra.

This 1,200$ is exclusive of your fuel costs (if you commute with your own vehicle) or transport fares you paid. You simply spent that much, only just by sitting in a vehicle.

Think about it. 1,200$ for just sitting in a car.

We don’t lose that much in terms of physical cash. Since ‘Time is Money’, any time lost, when put in the perspective of money, could urge us to make effective use of our time.

In the scenario above, would we strive to reduce the cost toll on our commute, knowing how much money is going wasted through commute?

Does it even matter? To you?

Solutions – In Developed Countries (the Netherlands)

In a country like Netherlands (a developed country), the value of time reflects well in their means of transport. You could live in Schiphol, and commute to work in Den Hague, some 40km journey, and still spend less than 1 hour 30 minutes in and out total.

Sad fact: Train commuting is almost non-existent in Ghana. For example, there’s NO route from Dome to East Legon. Heck, Ghana has only 2 trains, or?

From Dome to East Legon is just under 12km. Via trotro, you can spend more than an hour per one way trip.

Interestingly, the time spent could be zero, considering when via a train, you could still ‘work’, whiles on your way to work.

Your only lost times (which isn’t necessarily idle time un-usefully spent) is walking to and fro the train stations and or switching trains along the route.

For such long-distance commuting, many prefer the trains to driving 45-60 minutes journey per one way trip each time to work

Many who live and work in same municipalities tend to make use a common way of transport – biking and motorbiking.

As a firsthand witness of this motorbiking and cycling phenomena, I’m not surprised there is a dedicated Wikipedia page for Cycling in the Netherlands.

In case you’re curious, using such modes of transport cuts down traffic drastically within townships, thereby ensuring free flow, which translates to a significant reduction in commute times.

In summary, a developed country like the Netherlands, via Trains and Motorbiking/Cycling either makes effective use of the time during travel or cuts down travel time drastically respectively.

Since none of the above modes of transport is advanced enough in Accra to make it work, is there a compromise?

Solutions – In Accra (Ghana)

Obviously, Ghana is nowhere near developed cities/countries with advanced transportation means.

In our current state, is there anything we could do to cut down our commute times, saving us less than 1,200$ each year of just time? (Time = Money)

Walking: Won’t recommend walking from Dome to East Legon and back each day. That’s about a 4-hour walk in total each day. What a waste of time (= Money)!

Bicycling: A viable option, except for an environment delimiting factor. In countries like Netherlands, riding long distances feel normal, considering the general cold weather conditions.

You might be swimming in a pool of sweat, riding from Dome to East Legon. A very great exercise for the body, except the wear down will be huge, and the effect on productivity will be obvious and detrimental.

Plus, riding in Accra isn’t exactly joyous. There are no cycling tracks nor dedicated lanes for cyclists. It is such a weird environment to ride in, and the dangers and risks skyrocket considering how congested traffic can be. Maneuvering through the dense traffic isn’t exactly safe.

The risks and dangers, coupled with the time it takes to ride from one end to the other, isn’t worthwhile. Again a waste of time (= Money)!

Motorbiking: This option provides advantages unliked the bicycling. The mode of transport is faster. In city routes, even way faster than vehicles, as motorbikes can get ahead in line in traffic compared to vehicles, which can’t jump ahead of the other

Economical-wise, Motorbikes consume way less than vehicles, and easier to maintain and repair in general.

A Dome to East Legon journey on a motorbike would take under 20 minutes one way.

Own Car: This has way extra safety relatively, compared to Motorbikes, and far better than picking public transport (trotro) as you could go routes that are shorter, unlike public transports.

Maneuverability is limited, and it is easy to get stuck in traffic. In relation to motorbiking, a car travels not fuel economy.

Public Transport: This seems to be the worst of all, as it offers the least commuting time of all the others. It basically has opposite to all the advantages of the options listed earlier, except perhaps for the cost of money, in relation to paying fares.

Otherwise, this means is just the worst.

Concluding Thoughts

What do you think? Is the risk involved in traveling on a Motorbike in Accra worth less than the time = money this mode of transport offers?

Would you try motorbiking in Accra to work?

It is common to see many ‘enter’ ‘Okada’ (motorbike riders) from Legon to Accra these days, cutting their commute time in half or less.

Have you tried such mode of travel before? Did you feel safe?

Lemme know in the comments below.


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