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Araya Gared
Taxi Company: Independent Ambassador Driver
Years Driving: 7 years
Languages spoken: Tigrinya and English
Photo location: The Junction
Date: April 14, 2016
Interview Excerpt:
Can you tell me what you do between rides. If you’re in the lineup of taxis and you’re waiting, what do you do to stay entertained or keep yourself busy?
Mostly I read books, and of course I follow the politics of my country, so the internet and stuff.
Can you tell me any interesting books you’ve read lately?
It is mostly like a biography of the Ethiopian history. I am interested in the history of my country. So mostly I read Ethiopian books.
Can you tell me about any interesting passenger or passengers you’ve had, whether they’re famous or they’re just kind of funny?
To tell you the truth, I’m not so crazy about famous people—or this basketball, or—I really don’t pay attention. I just do my things… and I don’t even remember who I have in my taxi. Other than that, funny things that have happened to me of course like when I’m working on the weekends—people do some crazy stuff. They ask me about which— It’s really hard to say it when you are recording me. But they want to do something with their girlfriend and they want to do it in their car. Some of them they told me to stop that they want to puke, that they can not wait, and that they have to puke in my car. And all the things happen—at least once every two months. Once a month sometimes.
Of course on the weekend, people also jog in the middle of the traffic. You stop at the red light. They see the $15 fare, and they just don’t want to pay. They just open the door and just run. And that happens all the time…If somebody do that, I always pay for it. It happens all the time. Nobody enforces the fare jumper.
Okay, can you tell me anything about how the industry taxi work for you have changed in the last few years?
It has been okay since I got this Ambassador taxi plates. After Uber comes, our industry—They take away almost 60% of our income. Because we can not compete with Uber because they don’t pay insurance like us. Nobody enforces their law. They just collect money. Everybody could drive their car. They could hire anybody who have private insurance. So they just totally destroy our business. So since there is no policy, the taxi industry is going to be devastated. If it is they don’t create a policy that could accommodate taxi industry so there are taxis. So I am hoping that there is going to be a new bylaw that is going to bind us all. The public services. So we’re just waiting for a kind of new policy. So we’ll see how it’s going to be applied.