Taking a taxi is just a little different in every country in which we’ve lived. In the 175,000 person city of Bata, Equatorial Guinea taxis are the primary mode of transportation.
First off, you have to be on the correct side of the road. If the direction you want to go is the opposite direction in which the taxi is headed you may catch an earful for making the driver turn around. You signal a taxi by waving your palm down, or by pointing in the general direction you want to go. Before you get in you need to first ask the driver if he is willing to take you to your desired destination. If he is willing to drive that way he will beep his horn once. If he is not willing to take you he may say the word “nada (nothing)” or simply drive off without a word. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
You can expect there to be 2-4 total passengers per taxi and if there isn’t you can expect a driver to stop and pick up additional clients. But, if a driver is going to the west part of town (for example) he won’t pick up passengers headed to the east, north or south.
You must negotiate the price before you get in the taxi. A standard price anywhere in town is 300-500 CFA Franc (US$ .51 – .86) per person, per trip. Taxis don’t use AC and they frequently have the radio volume turned way up. Most taxis are in poor condition and have been beat up quite a bit. Door handles, windshields, mirrors and seatbelts are usually broken and the motor and drivetrain are usually in pretty rough condition. Drivers usually drive relatively safe.
There are lots of taxis, which is great for customers. Most taxi drivers are quiet, but once you initiate a conversation are happy to chat.