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New Taxis

August 15, 2008

Question from Terry:

On my last trip to Dakar, I noticed some new, nice looking, yellow taxis. Are they owned by a single company? Does it have a number? Are they more expensive? Do they have A/C?

Answer by Alex (Dakar expat):

Hi Terry – Ok, so let me try and answer your questions one by one. Just a quick intro first for other readers: The taxis Terry is referring to are all yellow (as opposed to yellow and black), brand new, made in Iran I believe (I can’t remember the name of the brand), and started to appear around the time of the Islamic Conference Summit held in Dakar in March 2008. They are a lot more comfortable than the very large majority of taxis in Dakar.

1. Are they owned by a single company? No. Basically, they are sold to taxi owners, as part of a government program, who return their old taxis, and then pay the difference over several years. Fyi, the base price for the new taxis is 9 million CFA, ie about $18k, which I personnally find expensive for what clearly appears to be the opposite of a German car. Taxis are generally owned by individuals, although some people often have several taxis, and lease them out to drivers who pay for petrol + 10k CFA/day. There are however some small taxi companies trying to professionalize the industry (such as Taxis Bleus), but, again, the new yellow taxis are made available to anyone with a taxi license.

2. Does it have a number? Well the answer to the first question means the answer to this one is no. Again, there are companies (other examples are Taxi Comfort and Taxi Sister), but they end up being expensive unless you are down town because they usually charge the fare from there. If you want to use one of the new yellow taxis, I recommend you find one on the street with whom you get along, and take his number.

3. Are they more expensive? In theory, no. They do however tend to search for tourists, e.g., by waiting outside hotels. As a result, they do expect you to pay more. But, as with any taxi in Dakar, you haggle, as there are (unfortunately) no fixed rates. They may also try to argue that the price should be more expensive because the taxi is new, but, again, that should theoretically not be the case. From my personal experience, I have often taken such taxis at the standard rate (e.g. 2500 for Almadies-Downtown), but have also found some who insisted that I pay more (in which case I just waited for another one).

4. Do they have A/C? Yes, although they will only turn it on if you ask for it, and will expect you to pay more if they do. In terms of how much more, I would say between 30 and 50% depending on how long the fare is.

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2 Comments
  1. terry permalink

    Thanks Alex !!

  2. Leila permalink

    I have taken sveral of those and they have usually been slightly more expensive, or at least harder to haggle with, than the regular ones. But it makes such a difference in terms of comfort that I use them as much as I can.

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