Around the World in a Taxi (Part I)

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Let’s take a quick journey around the world, travelling only by local taxis. It is going to be an interesting ride, as every continent has its peculiarities when it comes to the cab industry. They range from unusual traditions and quotes, to varied types of vehicles.

The first visit will be to Africa. One interesting thing that can be found here is the so-called “taxi war”, because there is a dangerous battle between private hire companies and taxi associations. This often leads to victims and even deaths, especially in South Africa. The most common used car is a 16-Seater made by Toyota, but usually the drivers take more passengers, thus putting the clients’ safety in danger. Only rich people can afford to own a car and to avoid this means of transport that is involuntarily chosen by 14 million people on a daily basis.

In Botswana, officials are trying to introduce a regulation that should be followed by all taxi drivers, as they usually have little experience, do not respect traffic rules and mistreat their passengers. Unfortunately, it is a very difficult task, because the mafia alliances still rule the country. Thus clients are assaulted if they dare to complain about the quote or about the drop-off address. The taxi industry does not even exist in countries like The Democratic Republic of Congo. Its climate and economic situation prevents the making of roads or rails, navigable waterways being the most used means of transport, although their safety is very debatable.

For Egyptian drivers, this job often represents an extra income, as they are educated people that already have a full time profession. There are meters, but most seldom they do not work so the price for the journey is discussed directly with the client. Other used combinations are: navy blue and white, yellow and black. A similar situation can be found in Ghana, where there are no meters at all and the quote is bargained previous to the journey. This type of negotiation is actually used in other types of industries, as well.

An interesting situation takes place in Kenya, where bicycles are starting to be used more than gasoline based means of transport like taxis. Not only do they cost less, but they can be more easily controlled in traffic and they are helping the environment to regenerate. Thus, a new industry was born: boda bodas. These are bicycle taxis that can be rented by passengers. Many inhabitants started this type of business and are gaining a beautiful income. There are two main disadvantages though: there are many serious accidents produced by motorcycles. In addition to this, this means of transport discriminates the people that are too weak or not able to ride a bicycle, as it requires a great deal of effort for long distances.

Here are some of the quotes that can be paid for a taxi in Africa, for a 2 miles journey: $1.01 – $1.68 (Cairo, Egypt) and $5.75 – $7.90 (Cape Town, South Africa). These prices are from 2011 and have been converted in US dollars. hire us

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