3 May 2017

Burundi: Bicycle-Taxi Drivers in Bujumbura City Profit From Fuel Shortage

Testimonies suggest bicycle-taxi drivers in Bujumbura city profit from the current fuel shortage that has rocked public transport services over the last two weeks.

Drivers who are strong and willing to work hard report getting a daily income that relatively surpasses their earnings in normal times.

"When public transport is operating normally, I hardly get a penny to save. But now, I save at least BIF 3,000 each day," says a bicycle taxi-driver who identifies himself by his surname Eric.

The drivers say they enjoy the increase of clients due to the lack of buses. Because of the availability of clients, the taxi-drivers say they slightly increase charges. "Many people who used to take bus are now our clients. And we increase transport fees because there are many clients", says Charles Nibizi.

Some other drivers, like Protais Nimbona, say the fuel shortage has not changed anything in their situation. "Our earnings have remained the same. People prefer walking when there are no buses", he says.

He and his colleagues worry that if the problem of fuel is not quickly solved the situation will affect prices of foodstuffs. "How will our meagre earnings help us survive if prices at the grocery increase?" says Nimbona.

The current fuel shortage that started last week has had a negative impact on virtually all activities relying on energy from fuel. The situation remains worrying as no sign shows it is being sorted out.

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