Taxis in Abidjan Part 1

If you don't have a car in Abidjan, you will soon become intimately acquainted with taxis.  They come in three colors: red, green, and yellow.  I haven't quite figured out what they all stand for, in part because people keep giving me conflicting explanations, but when I do, I promise I'll share the info.

Most taxis in Abidjan are red peugeot or toyotas.  You'll see them driving through the city at break-neck speed trying to get as many fares from point A to point B as possible.  When they're empty and are looking for customers, they won't hesitate to honk at you.  I'll admit that I found the whole honking bit scary in the beginning, but I'm starting to get used to it.

Now, once you've found an empty taxi, you must tell the driver where you're going and haggle over how much you are going to spend to get there. 

These negotiations can take time, hence the man leaning on the taxi in the picture below...

There are 3 tricks to taking taxis and not getting ripped off:

  1. Knowing how much it should cost to get to where you're going and set the price before you get in the car.
  2. Not saying how much you're willing to pay before the driver says how much he wants.
  3. DO NOT use the meter in the cab.  You will not come out ahead.  I promise. 

If everything goes according to plan, you're now ready to hop in the cab and embark on a death defying ride to wherever you're going. More on that some other time...

Man negotiating his fare