Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Public transit is not allowed, and even if it were I would not take it, as it is overcrowded, dirty, and unsafe. Either take ride hailed taxi apps, or drive your own POV. Most ride app drivers don't know how to figure out pin drops, making it challenging to call a taxi. There are some taxis people get the name and number for, and just call on them for rides. - Aug 2023

Only allowed to use Ride but like I said most people have a driver. - Aug 2023

Never took bus nor the train. Taxis are expensive but Ride App isn't so bad. - Aug 2022

Local minibus taxis are very cheap, however I do not recommend. Many local friends have told me it isn’t a good idea for foreigners to use them. There is a ride service (Ride) that is similar to Uber. It works pretty well and isn’t too expensive. To get from Bole to the other side of town it is about 250 etb ($5usd). - Jul 2022

Affordable, yes. Safe, no. Nothing here is really safe. - Jun 2021

Taxis are very expensive. - Feb 2021

We are not permitted in local transport except the elevated tramway which serves a very limited part of Addis. There is a taxi app called Ride which gives you a record of your trip including driver details. Their service and ability to read a map is hit and miss. - Aug 2020

Public transportation is not recommended. Blue and white taxis are off limits. There are a few trusted companies people use. - Mar 2020

We are not allowed to use the local blue taxis due to the drivers use of khat. The yellow taxis are ok, just make sure to have them turn on the meter or negotiate the fair before you get in the taxi. I've heard they will overcharge expats. There is a private service used by the many in the expat community, but sometimes it's hard to get. Lastly there is the RIDE app, like Uber/Lyft. They are the ones used by our family. The cars range from okay to good. Most don't have working seatbelts and you will breath in a lot of exhaust as the AC rarely works. They are reliable, they speak English, and many are highly educated Ethiopians who work for RIDE on the side. So you can learn a lot about local culture if you like to talk. - Feb 2020

Taxis are fine. Some of them are metered and others are not. We are told not to take local buses or trams. I've heard of some people taking trains but I'm not sure how safe they are. They're all affordable but as a foreigner, people will try to charge you a lot more. - Feb 2019

We were told big buses were unsafe, but if you mind your belongings, I think it should be ok. We mostly used the small blue buses, that travel set routes, and can be waved down anywhere, and will stop wherever along their route you ask them to do so. Cheap, but sometimes quite crammed (when you think it's at maximum capacity, the driver thinks it's only half full). - Oct 2018

Buses, trams, trains and blue donkeys are off limits. Taxis are expensive for a developing country. Many taxis are not in good condition and there are no seat belts. There are a few GPS-based taxi services. - Aug 2018

Except for taxis, they are affordable, but none seem safe. I have heard local buses, and trains have pick picketers. I have also heard issues with mini buses and female passengers being robbed. Many taxis do not appear to have seat belts, or nobs for windows, and doors may not close properly. I was in one when a door opened suddenly while running (most of them are very old). Newer taxis say that they are metered but most of the meters do not work. Many expats have private taxi guys that they use. Their price can be a bit higher, but for peace of mind, they may worth it. Taxis are quite expensive and you can easily spend $20. - Jul 2018

Local buses are not recommended but taxis are cheap. - Jan 2018

We're only allowed to take taxis, and these are very hit or miss. Many of the little blue Lada taxis do not have seatbelts or working headlights and/or windshield wipers. There are some taxi companies whose vehicles seem to be in better condition. Most taxis are not metered and those that are don't want to use them - you're unlikely to be able to bargain any trip down to less than $10. Build a relationship with a taxi driver so he knows how to find your house, since addresses don't really exist here. - Sep 2017

Nope to the local 'blue donkeys' (mostly blue and white vans) and I don't recommend the buses. The taxis are not really affordable and almost remind me of US prices - ten bucks one way to the embassy from where we live and the drivers will always give you 'firengi prices.' I recommend finding someone in the beginning, getting his number and using him exclusively to help defray costs and also, he will know where you live, which is challenging b/c actual addresses do not exist. - Aug 2016

No. Not safe, not affordable. We aren't allowed to use what passes for public transport here (minibuses and a limited stop metro), for safety reasons. Cabs, even private car services, are broken down economy cars, rattle-traps, with no safety features, and barely functional. Of course, even for this poor quality and unsafe service we pay the premium (foreigner) rates. A typical trip from home to Embassy is $10 or more each way. As everything is negotiable, that is the base price. A weekend trip around town can be significantly more expensive. - Aug 2016

People will use taxis in a pinch, but they're pretty much held together by duct tape and they aren't actually that cheap. - Feb 2016

Taxis are marginally safe but tended to be more expensive for ferenji (foreigners). Avoid buses and minibuses (blue donkeys). - May 2014

Blue mini-vans are off limits to American personnel due to crime on-board. Other taxis might not work very well and sometimes don't have seatbelts or steering wheels that are attached. They jack up the prices for foreigners, so that' a pain to negotiate every ride. - Jan 2014

All are not safe; embassy personnel not allowed to use the "blue donkey" minibuses. Probably affordable if you can figure out where it's headed or communicate with the driver. - Nov 2013

Affordable? Yes. Safe? Spotty. Some have brakes that work....some don't. Some have doors that don't fall off....others, not so much. - Jun 2012

So-so on safety. I had a very exciting time coming around a corner in a taxi a while back, with no seat belts, and the door popped open. - Aug 2010

None are safe, all are affordable. Safety is an issue of working brakes, seat belts, headlights - not generally a crime threat. - Jun 2010

They are not safe but very affordable. They have no seat belts. - Mar 2008

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