So, despite having 2 cars on site, we still have situations where public transportation is best. Unless you are going long distances, need to transport stuff, or are finicky about driving yourself, it is often more economical to take public transportation. The only thing is...it's a little different here than it is in the states. Let's go through the options:
Taxis are available pretty much anywhere. You can identify them by their yellow quarter panels. Unlike some taxis in the states, every taxi here is owned by the person who drives it. You won't see any "Washington Flyer"-like taxis coming to and from the airport. Who you get is who you get. The other "interesting" thing about taxis is that you negotiate the price of where you are going before you even get in. That's right, no automated ticker on the dash telling you how much time, how far, how many people, or how much luggage you have in the car. Flag one down, barter on the amount, and off you go. For comparison's sake though, to go across the city of Accra (which is a little larger than Atlanta sprawl wise), it's gonna cost you about 10-15 Ghana cedis to make the trip (a little less than 10 bucks). Not bad.
These are basically mini buses that hold anywhere between 10-20 folks (sometimes you can pack more in if it's a long trip - they even let you ride on top sometimes!). Unlike taxis, these vehicles will follow (more or less) a route to a certain destination that's predetermined. The tro tro operates with a two-man team including a driver and a "mate". The mate will open and close the door (usually when the vehicle is still moving), yell out the window what the destination is, and handle the payments. A tro tro from one part of the city to another is normally 1-3 cedis ($1-$2). Tro tro's can also be used as transportation to the suburbs of the city or (for a price) used to haul wood or other materials if you don't have an appropriate vehicle. My favorite was the 1 hour tro tro ride when we had to basically sit on half frozen fish (mmm...not).
These are the least interesting of the options because it is most like what we have in the US. Pack in 50 folks, and get taken from one city to the next at a predetermined rate and route. While these may seem like they're the most comfortable, they often break down on the rough roads. I try to avoid these guys if I have a car.
Stay tuned for more bloggage here and on the Medicine on the Move blog site!