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Dakar’s clandestine taxis are important for each day journey – however they’re unlawful

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Africa’s main cities are rising at a rapid pace. In Dakar, Senegal’s capital, as an example, the inhabitants has virtually doubled in 20 years, reaching 4 million inhabitants right now.

However in most metropolises, like Dakar, planning isn’t maintaining with the enlargement. One instance of that is town’s transport system. Public transport performs a basic function in offering entry to any metropolis. Nevertheless, in lots of cities, it’s missing, notably in areas of city sprawl. This worsens the standard of life for individuals dwelling in these areas, the place there’s a scarcity of jobs and facilities.

Assembly important wants – comparable to employment, social interplay, healthcare, training and meals – relies on mobility. In a context the place incomes are low and public companies and services are scarce, each day journey is critical however troublesome.

Dakar is making an attempt to raised organise its transport system to fulfill rising journey demand. Bus Speedy Transit (BRT) and suburban railway strains are constructed or beneath approach. However public transport stays inadequate. Numerous types of casual transport fill this hole and account for a major proportion of motorised journeys. Amongst them are taxis which individuals share, generally referred to as “clandestine taxis” or “clandos.” However they’re unlawful as a result of they function with no licence.

Clandos are sometimes outdated, unmarked sedan vehicles which carry 4 to 6 passengers. Many clandos function within the Dakar area. There is no such thing as a official determine, as a result of clandos aren’t registered. Nevertheless, in accordance with our estimates, there are effectively over 5,000 working frequently. Folks know them as they run alongside fastened routes, leaving the taxi stand when they’re full. More often than not, the stands are effectively positioned, near foremost roads or foremost buildings. In addition they serve distant areas. They’re costlier than buses however present a greater high quality of service.

We carried out research on how individuals transfer round Dakar and located that clandos play a significant function, notably within the metropolis’s outskirts. Even when bus operators take into account them as opponents, in most conditions clandos are complementary to them and ought to be higher built-in into transport and planning methods for the peripheral areas.

The way to transfer round within the peripheries

Our analysis – based mostly on the 2015 Dakar household travel survey and a survey we carried out in 2021 and 2022 – discovered that residents in Dakar’s peripheral areas are on common poorer than town’s different residents. Due to this, they primarily journey on foot and their entry to public transport is proscribed. After they use motorised transport, a major proportion of their journeys are made by clandos.

Folks usually use clandos for 2 kinds of journey:

  • lengthy commutes from the peripheries to the centre. They often use the clando for part of the journey, to get to or from bus stops. Clandos assist individuals to keep away from lengthy journeys on foot and truly contribute to extend the variety of individuals taking buses. Most of those commuters are males.

  • brief, native journeys throughout the outskirts. These journeys are shorter, and cheaper, than the lengthy commutes. They account for nearly two out of three journeys made by clandos. The customers are a reasonably various group: housewives, schoolchildren, casual employees.

Clandos are sought out for his or her velocity and luxury. Our surveys present that they’re comparatively costly for households. That explains why using clandos could also be irregular and restricted to sure kinds of journeys, like visiting family members, going to the clinic or getting back from the market.

City planning and clandos

Presently, decision-makers are specializing in organising public transport round mass transit. Because of this casual modes, like clandos, are doomed to fade on the grounds that they compete with high-capacity transport; or at finest will likely be used solely as a feeder mode to buses and mass transit.

The function clandos play – as a complementary mode, for each feeder companies to public transport stops and, extra importantly but, for inner journeys in peripheries – offsets their contribution to pointless competitors and congestion.

Higher recognition would make it potential to take higher benefit of their distinctive strengths and capabilities and allow them to play a full function in supporting mobility and each day life. In apply, this implies higher consolidation of the operation and of the distribution of stands within the public area, much less police harassment, entry to credit score for drivers who personal their car and for owner-investors to resume the autos.

These issues should be integrated right into a extra complete evaluation of the urbanisation of peripheral areas and the necessity for public motion to deal with transport and concrete planning in an built-in approach. Contemplating clandos in planning may provoke a bottom-up growth of the transport system. It might additionally provide job alternatives within the context of a really tight labour market.