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Taxis struggling during S.O.E.

The 14-day state of emergency (S.O.E.) to address the risks associated with the coronavirus is having a negative impact on taxi companies.

Taxi drivers who work for Uncle Bimo in Faleula and the Saleimoa taxi stand told Samoa Observer that they are earning less compared to the period prior to the declaration of the emergency.

Agaimalo Iakopo Leaupepetele, who works for the Saleimoa Taxi stand, said they will be lucky to earn $30 tala daily.

"We are now faced with the challenge of having less passengers, and our earnings are less than what we used to earn. Right now, we are lucky to earn $30 tala a day," he said.

He added that public perceptions that taxi services will benefit during the S.O.E. – due to the bans on public buses – are wrong.

Public buses play an important role in Samoa’s transport network, according to Agaimalo, as they bring passengers from rural communities who then use taxis to get dropped off at their offices. 

"We are actually the unlucky ones, our taxis hardly have any customers. We rely on the buses to get the people living far away from town and drop them here, so we can go and drop them straight to their offices or final destination," he said. 

Agaimalo said the only time taxis leave their stands is when they are called by loyal customers or when there is an emergency and a person needs immediate transport. 

"It's really slow at the moment and I'm sure it's going to be the same throughout this whole two weeks of lockdown," he added.

Taxi service operators are hoping business goes back to normal at the end of the two-week S.O.E.

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