3, June 2016
In Yaounde, it is common to find township taxis circulating with shattered head lights, door handles fastened with ropes to enable them open or close, worn-out tyres, cracked windscreens, unstable seats and at times, too dirty with cockroaches running on passengers. This unkempt state of cabs in Yaounde has not only left passengers disappointed as they break down in the course of transportation but has also left others injured due to the presence of exposed sharp objects.
Most passengers in Yaounde, can testify on the risk in boarding a cab while wearing a white dress or carrying something delicate. Rose Ebot is one of those who got into a cab and after alighting she could not continue her other activities for the day just because the back of her dress was not only dirty but wet. Rose explained “the moment I stepped out of the taxi, a passer-by called my attention to the fact that my dress was dirty behind. I quickly patted my palms over and moved on thinking it was okay. But later I was made to understand that I was dirty because there was this visible trace of wetness around the buttock region of my dress.” It is at this point that Rose realised that the taxi she had entered was not only dirty but had wet chairs.
There are those who have sustained bruises and wounds because they came in contact with sharp objects in the taxi either from the ramshackle nature of the taxi chair or the instruments the driver has used to either support an old door or the widescreen. Helene B narrates how she sustained a wound on one of her legs as she struggled to alight from a cab. The driver of that cab instead said “be careful not to dirty my car chairs with blood”. In spite of the worrying state of cabs in Yaounde, the appearance of the cab drivers leaves much to be desired. Most cab drivers are very unkempt especially in the morning.
Most passengers say it is unbearable to pick up a cab in the morning because of the odour from the driver who had not even brushed his teeth before leaving his home. Some of them do not even clean their faces talk less of putting on a clean dress, another passenger Ebenye M noted. Only the smell from some taxi driver and the bad state of their taxis has left many wondering. But many people say despite such, they have had no choice but to board such cabs especially when in a hurry. The current decision by the government to clear Cameroonian roads of such taxis as the country awaits the Female African Nations Cup is welcomed.