Bus Travel in Ghana (2): The Buses

Recently there are many buses travelling all over the country from different stations dotted all over Accra. Some of the new stations I am sure some readers have never heard of but they exist in obscure corners of the city. Let me try to get into some of these bus stations and you tell me which ones you recognize.

neoplan stationThere is the age old Neoplan station at Nkrumah Circle from whence one can travel to any destination both in Ghana and abroad. At the Neoplan station there are minivans as well as buses and sometimes even taxis that one can hire to your destination. I will not go into the destinations because that will prove an arduous task. Sometimes there are buses of different kinds and prices going to the same destination. Let us take Kumasi for example. There are minivans to Kumasi which charge different fares and are different from the big buses. Even the minivans include Mercedes Sprinter, Benz 207 or the American minivans from Ford or Chevrolet which are the fast cars usually referred to as ‘kont3m bra nt3m’ (quick in, quick out). These are noted for their speed usually for the more adventurous.

Just around the Neoplan station there are various other bus stations that operate in various capacities also usually heading up into the hinterland. These include the OA Bus Terminal and the VVIP Terminals. There are some other obscure bus terminals also jotting the same stretch of road with transport companies like Jopee Transport heading further up north and sometimes into Burkina Faso. Most notable in such terminals is the visibility of bicycles that are to be transported up north after they have been imported into the country. Further visible is plastic products like rubber bowls and especially the muslim ‘buta’ which are in high demand in the 3 regions up north. The main mode of transport in these regions is the bicycle so it should come as no surprise.

vipJust across the road from the Neoplan station is the VIP Terminal to Kumasi. This particular bus terminal only specializes in transporting passengers and goods to Kumasi and nowhere else. VIP prides itself in the safety of passengers and with their imported buses, they also pride on the comfort of the clientele. In recent times, VIP has become the transport of choice to most people traveling to Kumasi. This is also the reason why on occasions such as holidays when people have to travel especially to Kumasi this particular terminal is overcrowded with passengers.

Now we are leaving the Nkrumah Circle area heading towards Kaneshie and on the way there is a stopover terminal at the State Transport Company (STC). Being a typical State Owned Enterprise (SOE) it has been and it is still being run as such. The only persons who still use the state owned transport company in their travels are loyalists who remember the glory days of the transport company I believe. Every time this company goes under rebranding something comes up and they revert to the doldrums of mediocrity.

STC-Bus Recently the company purchased new buses to augment the already existing buses but mileage was put on the new buses so much that they are also in a sorry state even more than the ones that existed prior to the rebranding. Apparently the new buses were run such that a bus arrived from let’s say Takoradi, went in for servicing and the same bus within an hour was scheduled to leave for Kumasi. With the new buses on the scene, the old ones were packed into storage and not used. For me, STC acts like a child with a new pair of shoes.

Just when we thought STC had gained its place among the transport agencies and could compete with the new transport brands such as VIP and OA Travel and Tours at least, the age old nemesis of delays set in again to derail their efforts. STC is known for its buses being delayed sometimes for several hours. A loyalist friend of mine finally broke ties with the transport company when he went to get an advance ticket for a bus scheduled to leave at 1600hrs GMT when he was told to get a ticket for the 1100hrs GMT bus which was yet to arrive for loading. He was so dumbfounded that was the last time he set foot in STC terminal anywhere.

Furthermore I had the jolt of my life when I boarded an STC bus to Tamale which was not full and the 2 drivers ended up picking passengers on the way trotro style. This is after I had been told that I had to be at the station to board the bus at 5am check in time when I live quite some way from the station. Interestingly the bus passes in front of my house on the highway to Tamale where I could have waited for it but I was denied that with the reason that the bus didn’t stop anywhere apart from designated rest stops. Oh! I gave the drivers a piece of my mind and promised them to take it up to a higher authority which I never got to do. Hmm! this ‘fa ma nyame’ (Give it to God) attitude we have as Ghanaians will be the end of us someday.

I know readers will agree with me that the least said about the nation’s transport company the better.

Before I get to Kaneshie, let me just get to Abossey Okai behind the Central Mosque and on the road to the more notable International Central Gospel Church (ICGC). A small corner there houses the Imperial Transport Company with their fleet of Marco Polo buses heading out into the hinterland. Imperial Transport buses go as far as Burkina Faso and they are mainly patronized by the indigenes of these areas and mostly students going to school in the 3 savannah regions up north especially to Tamale. A bird's eye view of the Central Business District of Tamale

Most travelers in Ghana love to travel with their own kind. The elitist will travel with the elitist and unless you want to gain any special interest in other passengers you are travelling with, most people do not mix up too well. It is really an experience travelling with the indigenes of the north. Both their ethnic culture and Islamic culture permeates their every action and it is interesting to observe and learn.

imperialBehind the Imperial Transport are other buses that are privately owned and they also travel to the same destinations and sometimes to various towns within the northern parts of Ghana. Then there are other bus stations that I discovered by accident within the Agbogloshie market that travel also up to the northern parts of Ghana. These buses are some of the buses that are responsible for the influx of the people from the north into such areas as Sodom and Gomorrah in Accra with their flexible terms of payment for transport to and from the north. Some of these buses can be contracted to bring in friends and relatives from up north and bus fares if cannot be afforded upfront can be spread over a period of time. Interestingly I didn’t observe any ‘private’ regular travelers but mostly the market workers such as ‘kayayei’ or ‘busboys’ etc living in the slums who wanted to travel up north to visit parents or traveling for one reason or the other. These are people who invariably cannot afford the standard fees for the luxury buses that Imperial Transport, VVIP or OA Transport services provide. There are about 3 of such stations in Accra Central including one at the Yam Market.

The main bus station is at Makola market on the Fire Service Lane near Tudu where one can find a car to anywhere heading eastwards of Ghana to as far as Lagos in Nigeria. Here too the buses are privately owned with the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) regulating the transport and controlling affairs just as in the Neoplan Station at Nkrumah Circle and Kaneshie bus stations.

The Kaneshie bus stations deal with mostly with transportation to areas westwards of Ghana. This includes destinations in Cape Coast, Takoradi, Axim as far as Elubo and even into Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Most of the buses are privately owned but recently some owners are expanding with a fleet of buses heading to specialized destinations. Kaneshie also houses the terminal for the Metro Mass buses which also travel into towns within the various regions in Ghana.kanesh trotro

It is worth noting that there are both bus terminals and minivan stations both at Nkrumah station and Kaneshie. The minivans are somewhat quicker and don’t take too long to load but there will usually be more stopping on the way for passengers to get on and off. For an adventurer this is more convenient because you get to experience life in the various routes along the way. One gets to buy and taste ‘boodoo’ and ‘pusna’ (bread and octopus) along the western route, ‘adodey’, ‘abolo’ and ‘agbeli kaklo’ (oysters, steamed corn bread and cassava fried dough) along the eastern route, ‘bayir shiw’, ‘chofi’ and ‘atadwe’ (fried yam, pork and tiger nuts) along the northern route amongst a list of other items one can buy without getting off the bus.

There is one more major bus station that caters for east bound passengers and that is the Madina bus terminal. This is mainly a minivan terminal that takes travelers to the eastern parts of the country. These include destinations such as Ada, Ho, Hohoe, Jasikan and Aflao on the border.

Bus travel in Ghana can be fun. No matter the reason for traveling, keeping an open mind can always turn a simple journey into an adventure. Next time you are travelling by bus in Ghana, be sure to turn it into an enjoyable adventure.

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25 Responses to “Bus Travel in Ghana (2): The Buses”

  1. Thank you for the very informative and well written article. I was looking for information on Ghanaian Buses and got just what I needed here.

  2. hi going from Berekum to Accra by stc bus, what would it cost ?

  3. Please can you direct me in any road transport from accra to abidjan n the fare

  4. please i need a transport from Accra to Burkina and the fare or cost

  5. Unfortunately this VVIP system of transport has no sense of time nor any sense of urgency. The most frustrating habits of the booking personnel are the promises to travel according to their schedules that do not exist. The good thing about travelling on a ny VVIP coach is that every journey starts with a prayer. But, for their lack of the sense of urgency, I will never again use their services.

    • Well! Who has a sense of time in Ghana anyways. It’s al for convenience and who pays more.
      But we get to adapt to it when we should make it work.
      One bad experience should not spoil yo travel in comfort

  6. Target Klien Says:

    please what is the fare from accra to Abidjan when going by stc

  7. Kwame kenn Says:

    Will i be able to get a ford bus to techiman?

  8. Naja Johanne Brandt Says:

    Hello,
    I am looking for a bus going to Abidjan just after new year. Maybe the 2nd or 3rd. Should i come to the bus station before and order ticket?

  9. jaymas massaquoi Says:

    What is the cost from abidjan to accra

  10. KENNETH POBEE MENSAH Says:

    am kofi pobee am a land @ techiman dat can be used for bus terminal size 220’x80′ so if vvip transport are interested pls let me know

  11. Pls what is the fare from Accra to Abidjan and where can I get a bus

  12. KINGSFORD NSIAH ABABIO Says:

    0242619738

    kindly contact now very urgent we need a bus tommorow

  13. Thanks for the superb description! If you travel with big luggage, would you prefer the larger STC/VIP Busses or the private minivans?

  14. Bright Adjei Acquah Says:

    please will there be buss wich will be taking off all the way from Ghana to Niger?

    • Don’t know about a direct bus to Niger but will be very wise to go to Nkrumah circle near the VIP station and ask. Have seen buses for other west African nations parked there but don’t know if they go direct.

      • Regina Leveh Says:

        Kofi please may I know how much it costs to travel from Kumasi to aflao and if there’s any such bus available tomorrow and the time it sets off

  15. Go to the station at asafo and they’d best advise you on how to proceed from kumasi

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