Five thousand metered taxies to begin service

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Metered taxi service appears to finally be a reality at least in Mekelle, Hawassa, Bahirdar as 5,000 taxi owners prepare to begin service. Restrictions on the metered cars are still in effect in Addis Ababa. The owners will trade in their old cars for new Toyota Avanza’s which can carry six passengers. The owners are incorporated into 88 taxi owners associations. They will have their own insurance company and gas stations.

O’clock General Trading PLC represents the 88 taxi owner associations. A spokesperson from the company said that a letter is being prepared from the Ministry of Transportation to allow the Toyota Avanza’s to be imported duty free. The taxis are equipped with a meter, GPS and radio communication device. They are worth close to 470,000 birr. Customers can hail these taxies through a telephone hotline.

Taxi drivers will have their own personal identification badge that will be required to be displayed inside their vehicles. To ensure safety and good service passengers will be able to lodge complaints about unruly taxi drivers through a contact number posted inside the vehicle and at the back of the taxi.

Wendossen Legesse, coordinator of O’clock General Trading told Capital that the taxi owners have already begun saving money in their accounts to purchase the Toyota Avanza cars and they if the government allows them to be imported duty free then they expect them to be delivered soon.

“In less than two weeks we will ask the government to import cars duty free. If people are able to save at least 30 percent of the car they can start driving.”

According to Wendossen Legesse the taxi owners will pay the full price of the cars based on their agreement with banks.

Previously O’clock General Trading PLC imported 50 Toyota Avanza cars which are being used by Addis Meter Taxis.

The government has set the cost of metered taxis at 10 birr per kilometer and the initial fee for getting into the cab at 50 birr. The Ministry of Transportation wants to replace older taxi cars in the city with newer ones as cars contribute around 47 percent to carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in Ethiopia.