A 1,000 member taxi association made up of ‘code 3’ vehicles is suing the Addis Ababa Transport Authority (AATA), arguing that
they have the legal right to provide transportation services.
AATA has ordered them to cease offering their services saying they are not
permitted to serve as taxies. Drivers of these vehicles, which are often Toyota model Vits, Corolla or Yaris, work as independent contractors for the RIDE application service which is similar to Uber in that customers use either an application on their phone or contact a call center to obtain meter taxi services and the drivers use the application to make themselves available for work. The company takes a cut of the meter fare for serving as a go between for the customer and driver. They are called code 3 vehicles because they are required to get a code 3 license plate, used by rental cars, to provide the service.
“The transport proclamation says anyone who has a car with a code 3 plate can transport goods and people and that is what we do, we transport people from one place to another. It is not fair for someone to stop us from working without any legitimate reason so we will sue AATA for preventing us from working; after AATA made its announcement some Lada taxi drivers are threatening and insulting us while we are working. It is a shame to see such actions,” a code 3 representative said.
Samrawit Fikru, the co-founder and CEO of Hybrid Design PlC, provider of the RIDE application for both the passengers and the taxis, said that the cars are eligible to provide services.
“When we register them to use the app we require them to bring a license for renting cars, a driving license and registration of the car. I don’t know why the AATA is preventing them from conducting business. As many of us know there is a transportation shortage in the city and this taxi service alleviates this problem.”
AATA counters that contract based transportation service must be given by code one licensed blue taxies and yellow meter taxis who are eligible under the city’s transport proclamation.
RIDE started as an SMS-based taxi hire platform. Now their mobile app is used by 18 taxi associations making it the most popular taxi app in the country. (Capital Ethiopia)