Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Mini to Midi, As City Announces Transport Changes

The mini-buses will be phased out and replaced by larger midi-buses to support increased flow from new light railway

As part of the city administration's plan to gradually replace the mini bus taxi transport operators with midi bus mass transportation services, the 13 minibus taxi owners associations are to be reorganised in two bigger share companies.

This move was announced by the Addis Abeba Transport Branch Office of the Federal Transport Authority at a meeting held with taxi owners' associations a week earlier, on Saturday, June 28, 2014. Members of the associations will be expected to change their vehicles into midi buses, with a capacity of up to 24 passengers, according to the announcement.

There are three major service providers in a city, the 12-seater white and blue minibus taxis; the midi-buses, which seat 22 to 27 people (the latest entrants to the business) and are becoming increasingly popular and the limited number of large Anbessa City buses (which carry 30 people seated and 70 standing). Together, these alternatives are struggling to cope with the public's demand for transportation.

The 800 city buses now operating handle the majority of the 600,000 daily commuters, according to information from the Branch Office. The midi-buses, more than 500 in number, are also among the mass transporters of commuters. The second largest commuters, 1.1 million, are catered for by the estimated 20,000 blue and white taxis brimming all over the city. Private vehicles account for five percent and the remaining 60.5pc make their trips on foot.

It was the owners of these blue and white taxis that were organised under 13 owners' associations based on the zoning system the administration reintroduced in 2011. The number of members in each association varies, with a minimum number of 500. These associations have been engaged in different activities, such as service route management, which is circulated between the members.

The city administration has announced its recent intentions of upgrading the organisational structure, along with transforming minibus operators to midi bus operators ensued with the upcoming light railway transportation service. The railway is expected to increase the volume of disembarking passengers, which the taxis are supposed to carry from the major terminals to the different routes across the city. Therefore, minibuses have to enhance their capacity by changing to midi busses, which carry almost double the amount of people.

The government is also conducting research on the options of financing the taxi owners upgrade to midi buses, according to Abebaw Kasa, coordinator of the Tsehay Taxi Owners' Association. Officials from the transport office told the operators on June 28, 2014, that the administration will help them find 70pc of the cost on credit, while they have to save the remaining 30pc, according to Abebaw.

The two new share companies are likely to follow the model of Alliance Transport Services S.C - a private transport operators company, established with 35 million paid up capital in 2009.

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