Welcome back or welcome for the first time to the series of posts on How to Get Around Ghana. We have covered walking, riding a bike, taking a taxi, the Trotro and this segment we will talk about using buses to get around Ghana.
Buses are by far the most affordable and the most comfort for the price of any other transportation method in Ghana. There are major buses that run essentially every paved road in Ghana and are great for getting between some of the major cities. There are a couple of different options for travelers and they each have their positive and negatives, they are as follows:
Intercity STC State Transportation Company: This bus company used to be owned by the government of Ghana and has since been privatized. This is the best option for many travelers with their daily schedules between all the major cities in Ghana and they have reliable buses some of which are air conditioned. STC buses run between stations in major towns like Accra, Cape Coast, Takaradi, Ho, Hohoe, Kumasi, Tamale, Wa, and Bolgatonga. There is a schedule that can be found at the stations, unfortunately their website is no longer working and there is not a bus schedule listed on the net. It is recommended to buy a ticket the prior day especially at major stations like Accra. Buses fill up quickly and it is not easy to get a ticket shortly before the bus leaves. The air conditioned buses fill up much faster than the non-ac buses. After getting a ticket and loading the bus it is possible to get off at any point along the route but you will need to pay full fair for the whole route. STC buses sometimes leave late but in general are more reliable and stick to a schedule more than the other bus options.
Metro Mass Transit: Metro Transit is another bus company that runs most of the paved road routes between major cities in Ghana just like STC. Metro buses tend to be a little older than the STC ones, and I have heard and read more stories about these breaking down especially between Tamale and Wa. Many people take the Metro transit from Tamale to Wa and get off at Larabonga for Mole National Park. Routes and fares can be found online here http://metromass.com/tour_ghana.htm you will need to check into a station in Accra to get an up to date time table though. It seems not as many of these buses are air conditioned either. They are usually a little slower than the STC buses also because they make more stops.
Private Coaches: In many of the markets in Accra and other major transportation hubs in Ghana it is possible to find private Coach buses that will take you to other transportation hubs and capitals of other countries in the region. These are usually an affordable more comfortable option than Trotros. You will need to ask around to find where these are leaving from. They also will only leave after they have filled up so the wait tends to be a little longer than the other two options above. In Accra you can find these coaches in Kaneshie market, and Ring Road market in central Accra.
With any of these options be prepared for late departures and occasional breakdowns. It is advisable to also pack water, and snacks, they stop at some rest areas but it may not be on your schedule. Many of the rest areas that they stop at do not have the nicest restrooms but it is usually manageable for the adventurous independent traveler in Ghana. If you are taking an air conditioned bus it is recommended that you bring a light blanket or something warm to wear because they can get quite chilly in the night, during the day the ac keeps it at a comfortable temperature inside. They also tend to have Nigerian movies blaring with crackling audio quality, which can make for an interesting cultural experience, but makes it difficult to sleep. Getting a ticket before hand and starting at a station is the most reliable way of getting a seat, STC will not pick up passengers other than from a station, and are usually to full to take on passengers at stations in the middle of routes, you can get off at any point though, but will need to pay full fair. Metro Mass Transit will pick up passengers anywhere along the way if a seat is available but don’t count on this; the best bet is to get a seat at a station. The private coaches each have their own ways of doing things.