About a month ago all the taxi drivers in the country went on strike to protest low rate ceilings and unequal government enforcement of taxi permitting. The government responded buy canceling all taxi permits, and requiring everyone who wanted to drive a taxi to repaint their cars with a new paint scheme and to apply for a new permit.
For several weeks there were no legal taxis in the entire country. Kids couldn’t get to school, adults couldn’t get to work, and it was near impossible to buy food or pay bills. Private citizens saw a chance to make money by offering rides in private vehicles at elevated prices. The government responded by stationing lots of additional military on the streets to inspect cars with passengers. Many people were arrested operating a taxi without a permit. We refused to use the private vehicles, because it was so unpredictable.
Slowly, the new taxis have been rolling out onto the streets. The government raised the fare from 60 cents per person to $1 per person. This is a big hit on the citizens, as 70% of the people make less than $2/day. The legitimate taxi drivers are happier.
For us, it is a good thing. Some taxi drivers were driving in unlicensed and unsafe taxis. This meant anyone could drive a cab, and robberies in taxis were becoming too common. Now, only serious business owners are driving taxis. Only people who could afford to re-register and re-paint their cars. Taxi drivers, as a whole, are more professional and courteous than they were two months ago. There are currently much fewer cabs on the streets, meaning longer waits, but the experience is much less intimidating than it used to be.