ADDIS ABABA – Addis Ababa city transport bureau has issued a new directive that will govern the growing ride-hailing services in the capital.
The trend of the electronic ride-hailing service market is growing in Ethiopia’s capital and so is the demand from the public to use their technology backed and low-cost services.
Etta Taxi, ZayRide, PickPick Meter Taxi, and Ride taxi-hailing services are some of the common platforms that are dominating the market in the capital.
Officials at the Addis Ababa city transport bureau believe the time is now to control the service before it becomes unmanageable after the market has gone ahead of policymakers.
They said a growing number of vehicles are joining the taxi-hailing platforms without fulfilling the necessary criteria set forward in the country’s commercial law.
“We have to manage the situation from its outset,” Solomon Kidane told reporters. “If it left uncontrolled, the area may become ungovernable in the future”.
City officials have now made the first move to govern the market with a directive to limit new joiners to e-hailing taxi service in the city.
The directive says ride-hailing companies should have permission, their database should be stored locally and should provide evidence of that to the authorities, have a bureau in the capital, and among others.
Car owners who want to join the market, on the other hand, are required to acquire permission from the bureau as well as code-01 plate and change the color of their car to either blue and white or yellow, among others.
The directive effectively bans all vehicles with code 03 to join the business while the transport bureau stopped giving out Code 3 plate numbers.
Solomon said those cars currently giving service may need to obtain a special exclusive taxi license from the transport bureau.
He said the new directive will correct past mistakes of working with code 3 vehicles that violate the country’s commercial law.
This month, the bureau has restarted to provide Code 1 plate number – which is reserved for regular taxi providers by law.
“Car owners who want to benefit from e-hailing taxi service should either change the color of their cars” as stated in law, Solomon added.
Under Ethiopian law, license plates that are blue with number “2” are private vehicles. Commercial vehicles have green plates with number “3” marked on them. But taxi service provider vehicles are coded 1 with white and blue color.
By Sisay Sahlu