Where Have The Taxis Gone
Taxis were quite common in Freetown by 1982, I have chosen that year because it’s the one I can vividly remember. We were living outside the line marking the Kingtom Penisular at the barracks. Even though it was not a good route for taxis, they were quite a common sight. Persons wanting to go to down town Freetown to transact business did not need to walk all the way to Kingtom Bridge to access a taxi, they were always readily available because it was the custom in those days for such taxis to take just a single passenger from anywhere to anywhere. For instance my mother who frequently visited the Queen Elizabeth the II Quay at Cline Town would just stand in front of our house and tell a passing driver that she was going down to the Quay at Cline Town and she will simply hop and go.
It was also the practise for us to be sent to go call a taxi whilst the one who needed the taxi will be home waiting, not long after we will be seen occupying the front seat and directing the driver to the caller. I can still remember the day an address was written for us, it was to a certain house at River Side Drive (Brookfields), the taxi took us to the house but it was such a far flung place in the 1980s that one could hardly get a taxi back. It was quite a trek from the house to King Harman Road (Lodge Area) although it looks very short these days; at the time I was only a toddler with brittle bones and not used to walking. But once we reached the main road we got a good ride home in a taxi feeling happy but also very thirsty and longing for ice cold water.
I was very impressed with the New Year’s Eve Mass and St. Anthony ‘ s Church Brookfields in 1982/3. Immediately after mass we got a taxi home, late though it was it was not a hassle to get a taxi even with so many people looking for rides.
Many people relied on taxi than private cars and taxis did not let down, especially when a casual drop off was considered a hire. How things really changed, before long the taxis stopped plying off roads, they only did main roads and would only stop on such main roads. The luxury of one being dropped off at his exact destination is now gone. If one wants that service it has to be paid for as the driver wishes, he could think of any amount, based on your appearance; it’s called take your clients as you find them. The taxis in those days were mostly mazda and Sunny cars and were driven by mostly old men. Times have changed, taxis are becoming few and far between these days and it seems the three wheeled kekes are taking over. It is not known how long the traditional taxis will stay around before they finally vanish but many of those who want to invest in small time commercial transportation nowadays prefer to do so with keke.
It’s usual these days to sight up to fifty of the yellow, red, greed and blue kekes before one sees the yellow sided traditional taxis. A visitor to Freetown was so shocked at the change in commercial trasportation for city service that he asked rather astonishingly “where have the taxis gone”?
Well whilst the London Cabs will stay around for many more decades if not centuries as is the case with their red telephone boxes and double decker buses, we have been evolving in these sectors, the Land Line Telephones took a bow since Mobile Phones made their bebut but that will be a story for another day, especially when our first land line at home was Extension 15 but for now, I join the Astonished Freetown Visitor to ponder where the taxis have gone.