The Egyptian government has taken new measures to take the notorious tuk-tuks off the streets and will replace them with safer vehicles. The issue of the tuk-tuks was up for discussion at parliament, with some lawmakers in support of keeping them because they ease traffic problems, while others viewed them as a source of chaos.
Amina Sabra welcomed the government measures, saying monthly tuk-tuk fares cost her 121 dollars. She complained to Asharq Al-Awsat that drivers often try to exploit passengers, adding that they regularly violate traffic laws without accountability.
Despite the tuk-tuks’ role in easing many of Egypt’s transportation and traffic problems, many people are beginning to complain of their growing daily nuisance. Some pointed to the rising number of crime committed by drivers.
There are over 3 million tuk-tuks in Egypt, only 99,000 of which are operating with a license, revealed figures from March 2018.
The tuk-tuk was first used in remote, densely populated regions. They eventually spread and reached Cairo and added more chaos to the capital.
Amin recounted how her neighbor was run over by a tuk-tuk that was driving against traffic. The driver ran away and was never caught because his vehicle is unregistered.
Another citizen, Mohammed al-Hamid, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the vehicles were a danger to the people due to their repeated traffic violations.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Madbouly announced on Thursday a program that seeks to phase out the use of the tuk-tuks and replace them with safe and licensed vehicles. The program will offer thousands of job opportunities.
Some tuk-tuk drivers were understandably concerned with the new measures.
Ibrahim told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We do not mind that the authorities regulate our affairs. We have been victim to harassment from the traffic police and officials had previously promised to provide us with licenses. We indeed submitted the necessary paperwork, but they never followed through with their pledge.”
“Most of us do not mind the new regulations, but facilitations must be provided to do so,” he explained.
He dismissed the new procedures, saying there were just too many tuk-tuks. People rely on them as their source of income.
“The new measures will take a long time to be executed,” he predicted.