A trotro mate is the conductor of a trotro bus in Ghana. The term refers to the one who offers assistance to the driver in the operation of the bus.
A trotro mate is usually a male aged 16 to 24 though elderly people could also serve as mates. Government regulations disallow a person of less than 25 years to operate a commercial vehicle so once a mate attains the mandatory age, they are more keen on driving than serving as someone’s assistant. Rarely, a female of varied age can also play that role. An idle driver can also help his colleague out by serving as a substitute in the absence of the regular partner.
A driver apprentice,learning trade under his master, automatically becomes his mate. The master usually, an older male, trains the learner in the operation of the bus services and how to manage passengers. Sometimes, an individual takes up the role of a mate as a full or part time job. This person may be a qualified driver without a vehicle or a boy looking to earn a living. The latter has no formal obligations towards the master and will not serve the driver as an apprentice but rather as an employee.
What is the role of a trotro mate? It depends on the relationship of the individual with the driver. However, irrespectively, a trotro mate performs all or some of these roles.
Scout for passengers
Engage with law enforcement officers
Help passengers board or disembark bus
Port luggage into the bus
Pay terminal levies
Wash and groom bus
Supervise mechanical repairs
Announces routes and stops
A trotro mate has the same break period or rest as the driver. They do not take vacations except ocassional off duty absence.