Trotro Diaries hits 100,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017
With what started as a rant on Facebook due to the frustrations that come with the transportation system in Ghana, Yaw Odoom birthed his Facebook page ‘trotro diaries’.
With over, 100,000 subscribers today, trotro diaries has become the talk of most passengers especially the youth.
This initiative began as a simple Facebook status by the CEO, Yaw Tweneboah Odoom.
He narrates how the daily frustrations of using a trotro affected his productivity and entire day at work. One of such frustrations became the straw that broke the camel’s back as he decided to rant on his Facebook page, the trauma he had gone through that morning with the harsh tag #TrotroDiaries.
In response to his lamentations, quite a number of trotro users/patronizes could share in his sentiments. They had had similar experiences and joined in the course to share their moments too.
After a year, Yaw created a Facebook page, trotro diaries where passengers share their daily experiences in the world of trotro. From funny events to interesting stories as well as rants.
Some of which include: a post from one Opoku Agyeman Alexis “Oh Jeez, today de3 this mate is killing me with natural perfume. Just from Kwadaso to Kejetia feels like from Kumasi to Wa . Guys am dying come and save me. The car number is AS 1236 X”
Another is a post from Afia Asante Adow, she writes: “From Maakro to Abrepo, this lady was in a long chat with someone on the phone. Finally, she ends the call and my eyes mistakenly caught the screen before she put it off only for me to realize she was talking to "Gas". I beg o, could Gas be someone's name? Been wondering.”
A final post by one Pwaberi Wedam reads: “That nauseating part of the trotro experience when those opportunists posing as "Men of God" take advantage of passengers' hypocrisy to deny everyone a sound journey. This particular one had to unsolicitedly justify why it was appropriate for him to "preach" in the trotro and eventually blessed (or so it seemed) only the "givers". This is one of the main reasons why i can't wait to own a private car- so much disrespect for passengers.”
In 2014, a couple of people recommended Yaw to CNN after they posted on their Facebook wall:
“Where are all our Ghanaians today? Our team has a short trip coming up soon and we’d love to hear from you. Anyone has an interesting story about transportation in Accra? Or do you know someone fascinating we should meet? Post and pitch away.”
According to presenter for CNN’s Inside Africa, Errol Barnett, most of the people who responded to this post, recommended Yaw Odoom of trotro diaries. Errol therefore came to Ghana and set an interview with Yaw on the overpass of the Kaneshi footbridge.
“that was when I realized I needed to take it serious. On the day of the interview we had 1028 people. It was still me having fun, that’s all. In 2015, we got to about 18,000 or 20,000 people and last year we hit 30,000 or 40,000 and with just 4 months into this year, we already passed a 100,000.”, said Yaw, in an exclusive interview with the B&FT.
Yaw, revealed that trotro diaries has an app underway which, in the long term, will give passengers the opportunity to know their locations and even book drivers. Yes! You can term this as trotro uber.
“We’re working on a mobile app and the plan now is to move the experiences onto that platform because for me, I want to build something great out of something small in Africa. Beyond sharing the experiences, we are looking at directions as well. So that if somebody wants to get somewhere, just by putting in a landmark, we will be able to direct them using a public transport. We’re also looking at some form of trotro booking, where people could book to join the bus to work and forth.”
I personally have had my fair share of experiences with our transportations system. Even the government of Ghana has been at their best trying to make our commercial bus system suitable for the roads in order to promote tourism as well.
Someone once told me: “turn your passion into a business and you’d make the most out of your life” I believe Yaw has become the exact version of this quote, putting smiles on people’s faces and also, solving problems through volunteerism as well as creating jobs.
He said: “there’s the impact part where we try to use community projects. So, the one we’ve had before, is on sanitation. We tried it last year. Basically, we realized a significant number of people that take public transport also are the ones that litter. So, we will be linking up with the GPRTU, drivers, etc so that we probably have some sort of collection in the trotro so that instead of people littering, they drop it in there and then we get to pick it up and sell it off to people who will be recycling and these driers also get something out of it later. So, we’re looking at the community impact side of it with other projects like the trotro library and all that.
Some things that incite the group despite the networks, connections and a good laugh, are the airtime freebies that come along with it. Once in a while, Yaw comes through with ‘sharing is caring’ where airtime of the various network is put on the page for freeee.
Yaw Tweneboah Kodua Odoom currently works with Robert Bosch Ghana Limited as a Key User Manager and believes that the ultimate purpose of our lives is in the hope that we bring to others.
When asked if there were other similar projects to look out for, he stated that “I have a couple of other things I’m working on, one is Bachelor’s in the Kitchen, Boys to Men and African Moment of Greatness.
Yaw wants to be remembered as somebody that started something great out of something small in Africa, made an impact in society and then also as somebody who was fun and not an uptight. “If there are people in the world that I’d like to compare myself to, then it’d be somebody like Nelson Mandela but with a bit of Richard Branson and Jackie Chan and of course, Kwame Nkrumah. So, a mixture of all these people.” He added.
He appreciated the enormous contributions from both new and old members of Trotro Diaries adding that: “My family are the people I appreciate most. One of my favorite people who has inspired me more is my mum so every now and then she calls to ask more on how I’m faring with Trotro Diaries. Right from the beginning I had my friends from ISEC as well. They were the first audience I had and they added their friends and it kept going. I also appreciate the new members who have seen potential in this and have joined me to make a difference in society”
In his final words, Yaw said: “There’s a lot of rich content and interesting stuff around us in Ghana and Africa as a whole, all we need to do is to pick something and try to do something amazing with it. We have a lot of content and mobile apps and solutions.”