Addis Ababa City Administration this week has restricted three-wheeled vehicles (bajaj) operation in the capital Addis Ababa. Users and service providers did not see it coming. It happened just like that.
A considerable number of Addis Ababa’s estimated 6 million people rely on their services to get things done in the most expensive place to live in the country.
Addis Ababa City Transport Bureau explained the restriction in terms of work that is underway to regulate Bajaj transpiration better. It also said that other modes of transportation will fill the gap created by bajaj restriction which does not seem to be the case.
On Thursday, the Bureau said “Addis Ababa City Administration Transport Bureau is amending regulations regarding bajaj transport service. Therefore, until the work is completed and bajaj transport as a necessity is studied and a decision is made, the Bureau announces that bajaj transportation is indefinitely restricted in any part of the city.”
Thousands of bajaj drivers support families with the income from the service they deliver.
Addis Maleda, a local Amharic news portal, said that it spoke to a young Babaj driver who relied on it as a means of livelihood. The driver, whose name is unspecified, reportedly said the sudden decision from the city administration has caused a threat to his life. He said five members of his family depend on it and that his means of income is now entirely stopped.
He is of the view that the city administration should look into the conditions of bajaj service providers who are impacted by the decision.
Residents are also facing problems related to getting transportation.
The source also said that it spoke to residents in the parts of the city where Bajaj transportation was widely used.
It said it has observed long cues as the restriction has created a vacuum in transportation services in the city.
Horse-drawn two-wheeled transportation has been observed in parts of the city to reduce the impacts of the restriction.
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When did these notorious air polluters come into that country for the 2nd time? There were similar vehicles that were used as taxis which my adopted uncle and I hired as a ride from the railway station in Dire Dawa in the late 1950’s or very early 1960’s to his business partners residence. It was unforgettable experience. The vehicle was a three wheelers and if I remembered that correctly the city’s residence called it ‘kurkura or something like that’. Those of you old enough from that city and that period can tell us the correct name. I remember we had to cross a wide dry riverbed and that vehicle got stuck in the middle of it. Such vehicles and all others two wheel cars of that era never came with an LSD better known as positraction. So we were forced to get out of the vehicle and push it all the way to the other side of the river. But during our 2nd trip there in the late 1960’s that 3-wheeler was gone replaced by Peugeots and other European made cars used as taxis and lightweight merchandise haulers. I even remember seeing a Mercedes station wagon being used as khat transporter. I never thought Mercedes was any more expensive and prestigious until I came to this country in the early 1970’s. People would kill to drive a Mercedes here. In any case such 3-wheeler vehicles used as taxis are brutal to the air quality of cities. Several cities in many countries have banned them altogether and have shown improvements to their air quality. But it should be carried in phases. We have to remember that so many citizens(possibly millions with those they support included) make honest living using these vehicle as bread earners. They should be provided with amicable alternatives. If not that will be just cruel. In this day of rideshare app services it will be very tough for them to upgrade to regular taxis. They should be provided with effective transitional help by the city and federal government. Of course that is just my two cents worth of an opinion.