OpEd, Politics

Chaos on Juba’s streets: Urgent reforms needed to curb taxi and tri-cyclist anarchy



By Gama Hassan Oscas

In the heart of Juba, a disturbing trend of lawlessness and recklessness has emerged among taxi drivers and tri-cyclists (commonly referred to as Racksher riders). This blatant disregard for traffic rules and the safety of fellow road users has plunged the city’s streets into chaos, causing inconvenience, frustration, and endangerment to all those who traverse these thoroughfares. The time has come for a stern and unwavering stance against this unruly behavior, lest the roads of Juba become synonymous with anarchy and peril.

The rampant behavior displayed by taxi drivers and tri-cyclists on Juba’s streets is nothing short of a menace to society. Their conduct suggests a belief that they are entitled to treat the roads as their private dominion, with a complete disregard for the well-established rules that are meant to govern them. This behavior extends to parking wherever they please, halting abruptly in the middle of the road to accommodate passengers, making inexplicable U-turns, and brazenly indicating right while swerving left. Such actions not only defy common sense but also put the lives of other road users at risk on a daily basis.

One of the most concerning aspects of this phenomenon is the complete absence of respect for traffic rules and fellow commuters. Taxi drivers and tri-cyclists seem to consider themselves exempt from basic norms of civility and lawfulness. Their behavior on the roads – breaking suddenly without warning, refusing to give way to other vehicles, and ignoring the signals and indicators of their fellow road users – is a testament to their inflated egos and disdain for the safety of others.

The impact of this chaos is acutely felt by those who navigate the streets of Juba on a regular basis. The supposed convenience of using taxis as a mode of transportation has been eroded by the erratic behavior of taxi drivers and tri-cyclists. A once straightforward drive from Customs to Konyokonyo has transformed into a disheartening ordeal, with these drivers acting as if they hold the exclusive rights to certain roads. The result is a traffic quagmire that disrupts daily commutes, impedes business activities, and tarnishes the overall quality of life in the city.

Compounding this dire situation is the proliferation of tri-cyclists on the road, many of whom lack adequate training and understanding of traffic regulations. Their unchecked presence, combined with a lack of regulation, has led to a surge in accidents that threatens the safety of Juba’s residents. Shockingly, the very authorities tasked with upholding law and order – the traffic police – have seemingly abandoned their duties in favor of profiting from the flourishing tri-cycle business. Allegations of bribery and corruption have cast a shadow on their integrity, as they prioritize personal gains over the safety and well-being of the citizens they are meant to protect.

Addressing this crisis demands immediate and comprehensive action. It is imperative for the authorities to recognize the urgency of the situation and commit to rectifying it. The chaotic behavior of taxi drivers and tri-cyclists not only disrupts the flow of traffic but also undermines the fabric of society. To restore order and safety to the streets of Juba, the following measures are crucial:

Zero Tolerance for Violations: Implement a zero-tolerance policy for traffic violations by taxi drivers and tri-cyclists. Stringent penalties and consequences should be enforced to deter reckless behavior.

Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch citywide campaigns to educate drivers, tri-cyclists, and citizens about road safety and traffic rules. This can foster a sense of responsibility and respect for the law.

Mandatory Training: Require all taxi drivers and tri-cyclists to undergo mandatory training on road safety, traffic rules, and defensive driving techniques. This can enhance their understanding of their roles and responsibilities on the road.

Modernization of Fleets: Encourage taxi companies to modernize their fleets, adhering to safety standards. The availability of well-maintained vehicles can contribute to safer road conditions.

Strict Licensing and Regulation: Enforce stringent licensing requirements for both taxi drivers and tri-cyclists. Only those who demonstrate a thorough understanding of traffic rules and road safety should be granted licenses.

Traffic Management and Infrastructure Enhancement: Invest in improved road infrastructure, clear signage, and advanced traffic management solutions to alleviate congestion and streamline traffic flow.

Independent Oversight: Establish an independent oversight body to monitor the conduct of traffic police officers, ensuring they fulfill their duties with integrity and without bias.

Drawing inspiration from measures adopted in other cities, such as Khartoum, could offer a way forward. Restricting the operation of tricycles to designated areas outside the city center or in specific suburbs like Gurei, Jebel, and Sherikhat can help reduce traffic congestion and foster a sense of discipline among taxi drivers and tri-cyclists.

In conclusion, the mayhem caused by taxi drivers and tri-cyclists on the streets of Juba is an urgent concern that requires immediate attention. Their lawlessness, arrogance, and lack of respect for traffic regulations endanger lives and disrupt the city’s functioning. The authorities must exhibit unwavering resolve in reforming this situation through strict enforcement, education, modernization, and the adoption of effective measures. By doing so, they can restore order to the roads, protect the well-being of citizens, and ensure that the streets of Juba are once again safe and navigable for all.

The author of this article is an advocate and can be reached on email at: oscarsgama@gmail.com

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