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Tricycle Passenger Transportation Ban Unheeded 

By Divine Ntaryike Jr
— A decision announced last month forbidding the transportation of persons by tricycle riders in Cameroon’s largest city Douala and its environs as from July 1 is yet to be obeyed.  Across the city, it is still business as usual for riders of the swelling numbers of the three-wheeled vehicles.

Littoral Governor, Joseph Beti Assomo who announced the measure on June 11 on the sidelines of a dicey circulation ban on motorbike taxis in some Douala neighborhoods has curiously remained silent.  In fact, tension remains sky-high in the city as the usually hot-blooded riders fold sleeves to resist the addition of no-go areas in the city center.

“We are waiting for them.  And this time around, there will be trouble.  If they don’t want us in Douala, they should create jobs.  I feed my family and send my children to school from this activity,” Julius Verdze, a tricycle rider charged Monday. Elsewhere, others seen violating the ban said they were not aware of any such decision. 

Amid intra-urban transportation deficiencies, tricycles have gained steady popularity as a means of both cargo and passenger transport in fast-expanding Douala over the past two years, competing with motorbike taxis and conventional yellow cabs.

“The transportation of persons by tricycles is not yet authorized in Cameroon.  They are meant for carrying cargo and distributing goods around town but are being transformed into township taxis and you can see them carrying 7, 8 and up to 10 passengers,” Governor Assomo remarked as he announced the ban in June.

He warned that in due course, all trikes caught transporting people anywhere across the Littoral region will be seized and impounded.  He added that garages and other workshops readapting them for passenger transportation will be shut down.

“It’s not only a form of disloyal competition, but a dangerous means of transport for our citizens.  And so for the dignity of Cameroonians, we think that this means of transport, which adds to the disorder already widespread in our streets cannot be tolerated,” Governor Assomo declared.

According to him, suggestions are being made to the government to prohibit the importation and sales of tricycles across the country.  “We cannot be struggling to regulate the already very chaotic motorbike taxi sector and allow tricycles to invade our towns and cities because it will only lead to total anarchy,” he added.

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