Metered Taxis Enter Airport for First Time


The taxis were banned from operating inside Bole International Airport




Amidst a fierce court battle, metered taxis are once again allowed to operate inside Bole International Airport.

Justices at the Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench reversed their earlier injunction on August 1, 2018. The earlier injunction, which temporarily banned metered taxis from operating inside the airport, was handed down on July 6, 2018 by the bench in connection to a lawsuit filed by a collection of plaintiffs that included hotel taxi associations, Mekdela Airport, Andnet Yellow Cab, Siket and Wondmamachoch Taxi Associations against Addis Abeba City Transport Authority and three other defendants. The lawsuit alleged that metered taxis have caused a ‘nuisance’ at the airport.

Temporary injunctions are granted if any property in dispute is in danger of being wasted, damaged or transferred to another party before a court action, according to Civil Procedure Code 154(A) of Ethiopia.

The initial litigation on the injunction started in March of 2017 at the Federal First Instance Court when the plaintiffs filed a suit against Addis Abeba City Transport Authority, who presented a defence a month later. The request to lift the ban was rejected by the court.

On June 23, 2017, the plaintiffs appealed to the Federal Supreme Court following a decision by the High Court, which reviewed the case and reversed the temporary injunction upheld by the First Instance Court.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court, the appellants argued that the authority’s efforts to lift the injunction are unjustifiable as to the actual damages they, the hotel taxi associations, incurred. They also added that the additional claims raised during the litigation at the High Court do not meet legal procedure.

The case then moved to the Cassation Bench, where two of the other co-defendants, Addis Meter Taxi Plc and Bole International Airport Tourist Taxi S.C., asked the Cassation Bench to lift the injunction order on July 18, 2018.

The Cassation Bench ruled that the absence of substantial evidence of damage to any party following the deployment of the metered taxis and the availability of remedies if any damage is said to be sustained justify the lifting of the ban.

The Cassation Bench, presided over by Dagne Melaku, Birhanu Amenew, Bewket Belay, Hailu Negash and Etmet Assefa, lifted the ban for the metered taxis to begin their transport services within 10 days.

“Following the lift, each taxi operator is providing services in five-day shifts,” Anteneh Trilo, Ze Lucy Meter Taxi board chairman, told Fortune.

The taxis started offering their services at the airport for the first time on August 11, 2018, just 10 days after the Cassation Bench’s ruling.

The lawsuit of ‘nuisance’ filed over a year and a half ago against the Authority, former General Manager of the Authority Mitiku Asmare, Addis Meter Taxi Plc and Bole International Airport Tourist Taxi S.C is still pending at the Bench despite the lifting of the ban. The next proceeding is scheduled for October 12, 2018.

“The Authority designed the deployment schedules according to the law for the new metered taxi entrants and the yellow cabs to give fair transportation services,” says Etsegenet Abebe, communications director of the city’s Transport Authority.

The Airport manages 150 taxis in a single 12-hour shift. There are currently 1,087 metered taxis operating alongside 450 other yellow cabs, which have been operating at the Airport for nearly three decades.

The meter taxis charge passengers based on the distance travelled, the time it takes to cover the distance and what time of the day the travel takes place.

 



By MAHDER HADDIS 
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Aug 25,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 956]


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