Ethiopia · Taxi

Tips for Becoming the Best Taxi Fighter

I didn’t know what to call this post. I hope the name fits fine.

I have been fighting my way to work and back home almost every day for four years. As time goes by, you get to learn a trick or two as to how to get into a taxi effectively. This post is for all the ladies out there and some men. (I don’t think men have that much of a problem but some do.) These tips come in no special order. I’m not saying it will work every time, but it works for me.

  1. Do some math. If there are literally 100 people standing by waiting for the same taxi, try going at least half way to another stop. Calculate how much it will cost you and go that way. For example: If you’re trying to go from Autobis-tera – Bole which is 5.00birr and you can’t find any, try going Autobis-tera – T/Haimanot = 1.40 then T/Haimanot – Bole = 3.80. Instead of going from Autobis-tera – Stadium = 2.80 then Stadium – Bole = 2.80. You save 40 cents, and I’ll guarantee that Stadium will be more crowded than Autobis-tera.
  2. Check the color. Good news for us, taxis now have their destinations on top of their heads! Yes! So you don’t have to wait until the redat-the dude sticking his head out of the side window- to tell you where he is going. The Bole taxis are orange (that’s the only one I know easily). There are also green, blue, yellow, white etc… so you can differentiate. If you are going to Bole, don’t bother running after the one with the blue.
  3. Read the Sign. Don’t listen to the redat. He will never tell you his final destination. The sign would read Bole and he would say he is only going to Stadium. Don’t stand on the side and say, “you’re not going to Bole?” ‘Cuz then you’ll lose your chance to get on. And when you know he’s going all the way to Bole, don’t tell him that you’re going to Dembel (which costs less than Bole) cuz then he can just leave you there. Negotiate after you get on and grab a seat.
  4. Don’t just fight over that one taxi. Because that’s what everyone is doing. They are all just concentrating on getting on that particular taxi that no one bothers to see what’s coming up behind it – which is probably the taxi you’re looking for.
  5. Don’t stand in the back of the crowd. The middle is probably the best place to be. If you are all the way in the front, you’re most likely on the lane that the taxi is trying to park. And since the drivers are mean, they will come straight to you, forcing you to move back. Then, you’ll trip on something or lose control. Meanwhile if you are in the back, you’re probably never going to get through the whole crowd. But if you are in the middle, you have more control that the ones in the front and you’ll have a good estimation as to where the taxi will stop.
  6. “For every action, there is equal and opposite reaction”– Newton’s 3rd Law. Same when it comes to fighting or “megafat” – as we’d like to call it. When everyone is rushing to the taxi, use all the force you have- because that’s what the other person’s doing. If you just stand there and run behind the taxi, you WILL get hurt.
  7. Stay cautious. When fighting, some people tend to forget about the things going on around then. Ladies, hold your purse tightly in front of your chest. Make sure the external zippers are turned away from the crowd. Men, watch your pockets. Because whether it’s a man, a little boy or a pregnant lady (yes), they will try to steal from you if the opportunity presents itself. I’ve had my cell phone stolen 4 times, I know better now.
  8. Play fair. If not, you will just be wasting everyone’s time. If you’re the 13th person on the taxi, get off. Don’t sit on the side and say, “please take me; I’ll pay double.”  If you’re friend is saving a seat for you but someone else took it, you AND you’re friend get off. Don’t force the person who actually fought to get off. (You know it would piss you off if it was you.)
  9. Respect Fellow Travelers! (Thanks for the reminder Eweket and Andthree!) Men, be a gentlemen to the ladies. We know you’re huge and can easily crush us, but you don’t have to prove that. Ladies AND Gents, respect the elderly. If you’re got on the taxi and an elderly man/women, pregnant lady didn’t, give them the seat. (Some actually do.) You can fight again, they can’t.

Well, there you have it. If you have anything more to add, please do so by leaving you’re comments. 🙂


22 thoughts on “Tips for Becoming the Best Taxi Fighter

  1. It’s been years since I used a.a taxi but on my passet experience it’s true thx for sharing this with us.
    soon it will be all change!

  2. Good points. But i guess you forgot the most important tip: – respect the fellow travellers. and use common senses. I hate people just came to the station and try to fight people who stand there for a while. There is not enough minibuses, so look around and people are standing gashe.

    whatever the case, we need to change the whole transportation system. Now after all these years, minibus concepts don’t work. we need bigger and better transportation systems. as a blogger you can influence the policy makers. and i also hate some people take minibus taxis , say from Dembel to welo sefer…man, are we what? seriously, this woman in my condo compound (Gotera) she takes contract taxies to go from one place to the other…a normal healthy young girl. Is it me or people are loosing it? walking is healthy. and getting our of house 30 min earlier isn’t that hard too.

    1. Thanks Mark! Let’s start a campaign – Walk for Life. lol Sounds good, eh? But you have to understand some people too. Women especially; maybe the woman always wears heels and I KNOW how difficult it is to walk a long while with those on, let alone fight for a taxi with them. Maybe she is just always in a rush. But I know you love walking. You made me walk from my office till Atlas last time. Couldn’t believe I did that, but it’s good. I should do it more often. Thanks!

  3. Nice one Sari, but Tip No. 5. Don’t stand in the back of the crowd: and u suggest standing in the middle, i hope your next blog will be about “pickpockets in taxi crowds”

  4. 10. go out early to avoid “megafat” specially in d morning, and walk with your friends, if u have some, after work its healthy.

  5. I wondered if Addis would be moving toward train/rail? It looked to me (what do I know??) that there was a need. Think of all the jobs it could provide! & reduce pollution.

    1. Yes, Addis will be having it’s first train in a long time… they’re trying to set it up, measuring and digging everywhere. We don’t exactly know from where to where, but it’s supposed to be a long one. Probably another 5-10 years before we see it though… lol

  6. I was in Addis few years back and end up having the most interesting cab ride of my life. After a dinner party we grabbed an empty cab off the street and asked the cabbie to take us any place that we can get drunk. We insisted that we wanted a place that is not touristy or a place that doesn’t cater to the rich Ethiopians, we wanted a joint where an every day guy go and get wasted.

    First stop was a drive through bar were you chill in your car and down a few beers, including our driver. By the time the night was done, our cabbie Eshatu, my friend and I was shit-faced! Jumping from one tiny joint to another drinking homemade brew with day laborers. As a foreigner, I never felt threatened going to those places, everyone was friendly to me.

    That was awesome dude!

    1. Haha! What a cool experience! Yea, there are really nice drivers sometimes! I guess it all depends on our attitudes and they will feed off of it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      1. Hello to everyone,

        Can anyone help me ? I´m planing to go next Nov. to Ethiopia for 2 weeks, and I´m looking to rent a driver with his own van to drive us through ! Does anyone know or have some friend to be a driver and earn some birrs?
        Thanks all !


  7. Why Fight?
    I have this ideas on the matter. What if there is an app that can tell you all the possible routes from your starting address to your destination considering the taxi routes, bus routes and other factors. The app can also consider other conditions too. For example if today is Gebreal (the holiday), then it can automatically guess routes leading to Gebreal Church will be crowded. This will make the app more smarter. Other conditions can also be considered to make the app intelligent and serve the users useful content.

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