General News of Friday, 22 December 2017
Christmas is just a few days away and, as usual, some major streets in Accra are in a gridlock, with vehicles packed bumper to bumper and jammed side by side.
A visit to parts of the national capital showed that the most affected routes were the Adenta-Madina-37-Accra, Odorkor-Kaneshie-Accra, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange-Accra, Nungua-Teshie-La-Accra, Lapaz-Dansoman-Accra roads.
The worst route affected was the Graphic Road-Accra road, leading to the central business district (CBD) of the city.
Customarily, the festive period of Christmas draws people from all walks of life and far and near to markets in the city for their last minute shopping.
While the huge numbers of people trooping in and out of markets and shops might seem to be a sign of good business, interestingly, traders were complaining that business was slow because people were not buying but only “window shopping”.
In view of the heavy traffic congestion, some commuters were forced to alight along the way to escape the unbearable heat from the weather since vehicles stayed stationary for long periods before moving.
Under the circumstance, some drivers took advantage of the situation to make more money.
The situation was in fact the same on the Atta Mills High Street, linking up to the street in front of the new court complex towards the Korle Bu Hospital Traffic Light.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Yaw Donkor, a private car driver, who was stuck in traffic in front of the Roxy Bus Stop on the Farra Avenue, expressed his frustration with the situation, complaining that he was expecting to alight his wife and children in the CBD but had been standing at one place for over an hour.
A taxi driver, Mr Ananias Sarpong, said he was from Achimota on his way to the CBD. According to him, he began the journey about 8:30 a.m but as at 10:05 a.m, he was still in traffic and nowhere near his destination.
A number of passengers the Daily Graphic saw alighting from buses said it was better walking given the difficult nature of the situation than to sit and wait for it to improve.
When asked what they were going to do in the central business district, Maa Ataa said she sold Christmas toys in front of the Universal Merchant Bank, while another lady, Auntie Jemima, noted that she was going to buy Christmas decorations to sell in her shop at Taifa.
The situation compelled some drivers to charge exorbitantly to compensate for the time they spent in traffic.
To beat traffic, some commuters resorted to the use of commercial motorbikes, popularly referred to as Okada.
Meanwhile, some recalcitrant commercial drivers, who, in their attempt to beat traffic, resorted to the use of the shoulders of the roads found themselves on the wrong side of the law and were arrested by the police for breaking traffic regulations.
At Tabora Alhaji, there were no vehicles to convey stranded commuters to town since vehicles that ply the route were said to have been stuck in traffic, leaving the hordes of people confused.
The lucky ones in the gridlock seemed to be hawkers, particularly, pure water sellers, who had a field day selling to passengers some of whom were dehydrated as a result of standing in the heat for long periods.