Taxis, Dakar, Macky Sall, Transportation, Senegal

Taxis, Dakar

It’s Horses vs. Motors in Senegal. The Steeds Still Win on Many Roads.

“Taking taxis is for rich people,” said a Senegalese woman who paid about 50 cents for a ride home in a horse buggy. “We prefer to support these people because they are from the community.”

12.9.2019

“Taking taxis is for rich people,” said a Senegal ese woman who paid about 50 cents for a ride home in a horse buggy. “We prefer to support these people because they are from the community.”

Horse-drawn carts are a staple means of transportation in Dakar , the booming capital of Senegal . But this traditional means of getting around is under increasing threat from motorized rickshaws.

A ride was easy to find, with dozens of horse-drawn buggies lined up near the market, which was in Rufisque, a picturesque suburb of Dakar known for its colonial architecture.

The move toward electric rickshaws got a big lift after a recent visit by President Macky Sall to India, where he saw motorized cabs widely in use and liked what he saw. He asked for, and was given, a gift from the state of 250 of them to try an experiment in clean-energy transportation in Dakar.

A calèche, the passenger version of Senegal’s horse-drawn carts, riding through Rufisque, a suburb of Dakar.

The carts, or charrettes, as they are called in French, do the work of pickup trucks, hauling cement to construction sites and rice to grocery stores, and picking up household trash in places where garbage trucks cannot squeeze through.

Periodically, there is talk of barring them from more roads.

“The horse is a sacred animal in our cities,” said Sidy Mbaye, the secretary general of Rufisque, which has hundreds of working horse-drawn carts and no plans to ban them.

“The horse is a sacred animal in our cities,” said Sidy Mbaye, the secretary general of Rufisque, which has hundreds of working horse-drawn carts and no plans to ban them. “It accounts for why the president of the republic’s logo is a horse. Culturally, people love them.”

But like Dakar more broadly, the neighborhood of Ngor is also considering a way to reduce reliance on the horse-drawn carts. There is a plan, still unfunded, to replace the carts with a fleet of municipal scooters, which would lug trash bins behind them. This approach would also provide employment for young people.

For generations, horse-cart drivers have come from the Serer ethnic group, which still maintains strong ties to farming life.

He is trying to organize 500 of his fellow drivers in communities across the region to buy motorized rickshaws from China or India to replace the horse-drawn carts.

As to whether horse-drawn carts might also find a place there, he did not hesitate. “No way,” Mr. Ndoye said. “It will be a modern city.”

Read more: The New York Times

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