Cameroon: Buea - Measure Leaves Taxi Drivers Groaning

Though respecting the regulation, most of them lamented that they are unable to have their usual FCFA 8,000 daily balance.

Township taxis in Buea are since March 26, 2020, carrying not more than three passengers to whatever destinations. The measure is prescribed by South West Regional Delegation for Transport. The goal is to achieve the social distance in taxis in the face of Corona Virus. Of the 700 taxis in Buea, each is expected to ferry three passengers at a go, one in front and two behind. Cameroon Tribune observed on March 28, 2020 that taxi drivers were implementing the measure though in lamentations. Ekote Esongami recalled that the measure is good because passengers in his taxi don't have bodily contacts with others. He called on his colleagues to respect the prescription as it is for the good of all. But Ashu Onobiono said that the government recommendation to stay home has caused passengers to be fewer in the streets. That by 6 pm the streets are completely empty. It has even become worse off with the three-passengers-measure. "I am not happy as I carry only three passengers. Passengers too don't even want to pay the normal laydown tariff which is FCFA 250 in the day and FCFA 350 in the night per drop," he explained bitterly. He barely struggled to work FCFA 5,000 as balance contrasting FCFA 8,000 during the pre-advent of COVID-19. Ndeh Hubert, another taxi driver said that they might likely shift the load on passengers in order to succeed. Presently, he tasked passengers FCFA 300 per drop before he bagged home FCFA 6,000 as balance. Another taxi driver said he was trying to finish the fuel he had consumed before parking his taxi for good until the situation returns to normal. That since the measure came into force, he had worked not more than FCFA 4,000 as balance. Samuel Molombe Ngombi, President of Buea Township Taxi Drivers' Union, SN CHAUTAC Buea, acknowledged that they are implementing the three-passengers-measure which will continue till brighter days. He expressed worries as taxi drivers' take home have dropped since enforcing the decision but maintained that taxi fare in Buea remains unchanged. That drivers should know that the measure is to keep COVID-19 at bay and as such will surely be for a short time. He prayed drivers to respect the official tariff. He called on all passengers in Buea to always wash their hands before boarding taxis. Taxi drivers on their part should always sanitise their hands each time they exchange or collect money from passengers. "You should take this very serious as COVID-19 is contagious and concerns all," Molombe told taxi drivers. The SN CHAUTAC Union also shared 100 nose masks to taxi drivers.

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