Moving Accra’s passengers from the trotro to the train: An assessment of the current state of passenger rail transport in Ghana and a discussion of the associated challenges and benefits of establishing a city rail system for Accra

Accra has a population of 4 million growing at nearly 4% annually. An increasing population is typically coupled with an increasing demand for paved roads to support motorized transportation. However, this demand for paved roads has not been met. Road transport seems to be the only effective transportation option in Accra as it carries over 70% of passengers. The most common form of public transport by road is the minibus (trotro). Although most people in Accra use the “trotros”, there is still heavy traffic. Mass transportation is available in the form of buses but it has not solved the city’s transportation problem. Since Accra is not traversed by water bodies, transportation by water is also not a viable option. It is therefore reasonable to argue that mass transportation by rail may help improve transportation in Accra. Using information from questionnaires administered to and interviews conducted on inhabitants of Accra, this research documents the state of Accra’s passenger railway system and outlines potential benefits and challenges associated with improving it. The results show that Accra’s railway system is in a poor state. There are only two lines that run (Accra-Tema and Accra-Nsawam). Additionally, the physical condition of the trains on these lines is deplorable. It would be expensive but ultimately beneficial to develop a railways system for Accra. If the private and public sectors work together, the cost could be effectively split by both sectors and the system can be made effective and efficient.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University College, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2016
Accra, railway transport, trotros, transportation