The Unwritten Rules of Tamale Taxis

Where most cities have a public transit system, Tamale has a highly organized system of taxis. Similar to public transit, there is a series of unwritten rules that should be followed when taking a Tamale Taxi.

  1.  There are two types of taxi rides: droppings and shared.
  2. Droppings involve being taken directly to a particular point of interest and thus have a variable cost that depends on distance travelled.
  3. Shared taxis drive back and forth on approximately the same route and to go any distance along this route is the same price.
  4. Soulemingas will get ripped off for both types of taxi ride.
  5. Shared taxis are just that: shared. Before getting into one, make sure you’re comfortable with up to 6 passengers in one small car.
  6. Upon entering a shared taxi, it is customary to greet all other passengers-usually in Dagbani-and to invite them to share any food you might have.
  7. When sitting in the back of a shared taxi, it is customary to move to the left so that others can enter the taxi safely, from the right side.
  8. Similarly, if someone on the left is alighting, it is polite for everyone right of that person to get out on the right to let the person out.
  9. The taxi driver is not likely to know the place where you want to alight.
  10. Therefore, you must repeat the desired location of alighting at least three times clearly.
  11. You will still not likely get off at exactly the right location. I’ve discovered that this is a luxury we take for granted in Canada.
  12. If you do not specify your desired drop-off location specifically, you are more likely to have to pay for a dropping.
  13. Droppings can become shared taxis very quickly.
  14. Most shared routes cost around 50 pesewas. Droppings, even if they are the same distance, are often much more expensive.
  15. Dropping prices may be “negotiated”.
  16. Some streets don’t have taxi routes, or only have taxis available at the beginning of the road.
  17. Regardless of where you are going, the driver will attempt to get you into his car.
  18. The car itself could be in any state of repair between nearly junk and nearly certifiable by Canadian standards. Learn to appreciate control over the window and ability to open the door from the inside—these are luxuries.
  19. Alighting in the middle of intersections, while blocking traffic, is perfectly okay.
  20. You are likely to get the best customer service in Tamale from a taxi driver. They are generally efficient, polite, and friendly.

Stick to these rules when in Tamale, and you should have no problem getting around.




3 responses to “The Unwritten Rules of Tamale Taxis

  1. Excellent. You have nailed it, Chris.

  2. You’ve seen a taxi nearly certifiable? That is amazing!

    On 20. I don’t know if you’re being facetious or if we just have an entirely different sample set of cab drivers. Mine ran from a guy that stopped twice for personal things and still tried to charge us 2-3 times what the ride was worth to a seriously prejudice dude yelling profanities at other drivers.

    • Haha! I haven’t experienced anything that ridiculous yet! But seriously, the customer service I’ve gotten in taxis is far greater than that which I’ve gotten anywhere else so far. Most of the time, it’s a long wait to get anyone’s attention, and then service takes FOREVER. I’m sure my opinion will change as the summer continues.

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