Transportation around Addis presents challenges and the occasional small victory. That certainly was the case for us yesterday.
We don’t have a car here. If you work with an embassy or NGO of some sort, you can most likely buy one duty-free. The duty, in the case of a car, is nothing to sneeze at. You can expect to pay the government over 200% of the purchase price of a car. And since almost without exception the cars in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa are purchased used, imagine spending around $15,000 for a 2012 Toyota RAV-4 and then paying the another $33,000 in duties. In our case, we’d be paying the duty on a car purchase. So an outright purchase won’t be feasible.
While we’re considering other transportation options (a long-term rental and paying for a driver is our current target), Addis is filled with taxis. I’ll leave aside the rogue mini-buses that most Ethiopians use, which make stops at intersections where back-seat barkers yell out the intended route when they careen to a stop. Chances are high that we’ll never be in that mix (although they are surely the cheapest). Instead, there’s a pecking order of taxis that everyone knows. Yellow cabs are basically a uniform look - sporting a yellow and green color scheme that would look right at home proudly driving around die-hard Oakland A’s fans - and drivers who speak English. The lower tier and often rogue taxis are the independent cabs. They’re essentially all the same make, model and look. A 1990 Toyota Corolla 4-door, painted blue and white. Noice.