The lack of regulations for moto-taxis has led to the growth of potentially serious problems. Already, moto-taxi drivers have taken over the streets of many cities, parking at will and operating as they see fit. The authorities, who target traffic violators, focus on traditional public transport vehicles, leaving moto-taxis free to take over intersections and sidewalks, often leaving pedestrians no option but to walk in the streets to get around them.
Moto Taxi piling on more passengers than are safe
Traffic can be very bad in Haiti. On an average day, you can follow the car before you at a rate of about 2 miles every hour in the nation's capital. One the back of a moto-taxi, driven by a skilled driver, one can speed up that time and cut your commute considerably. The drawback is dealing with the sometimes reckless driving by those drivers who are daredevils. One may also have to share the accommodations, as moto-taxi drivers try to capitalize on their haul with each run, sometimes piling on more passengers than are safe.
When choosing a moto-bike, assess the driver as well as the bike. Older drivers tend to be more responsible and are less likely to take chances. Look out for zip-ties on the bike as well as its general fitness as they are allegories to the success of the driver. Look out for a driver with an extra helmet or two for passengers. Finally, when you find a good moto-taxi driver, keep him. Exchange numbers with your driver and call to check his availability when you plan on going out.
Dr. Gaspard SEM, of the Hospital Saint-Michel in Jacmel, said in June of 2013 that a majority of the cases they see come in at the emergency unit and outpatient clinic have been victims of accidents involving moto-taxis. They divided them into groups by adult and children cases, and then, within the groups, by sex. Adult men numbered 171 instances over the months of May and June, female 58, over the same period. There were 21 cases involving children over the same two months, 10 boys and 11 girls.
Motorcycle in southeast department of Haiti
A big part of the draw towards the informally run moto-taxi service in Haiti is the way it bridges the gap between places otherwise unconnected, shown by how far the service has permeated the southeast department. The ability of the compact, fast moving bikes to traverse where tap Taps, cars and other transport options can't is a glaring example of how important they've become to the sector, despite how unsafe it is to ride on the unsuitable roads.
Not only are locals opting for the ever popular choice of the moto-taxis that are a fixture on the Haitian scene where modes of transport are concerned, but foreigners, some only passing through, some more permanent residents, are catching the bike bug. During Carnival, moto-taxi drivers wait outside venues and will drop passengers anywhere they wish to go, to the steps of their homes or hotels. The practice has become so epitomic of a trip to Haiti, it has been made the subject of numerous blogs by international travelers.
At fifteen years old, the moto-taxi service that runs throughout much of Haiti, and acts as the main conveyance for transporting busy travelers, is still almost completely informal. In almost every aspect, down to the roads on which the taxis run, which are often unfit for some types of vehicles, there is need for regularization and proper infrastructure. There is also the issue of mandating how many passengers may be conveyed on any one moto-taxi at a time. Some have been known to transport even more than three passengers at a time.
Some of the dangers you meet with while riding on a moto-taxi include everything from burning the skin on your leg, exposed or even covered, on a tail pipe, falling off if you don't have something (or someone) to hold on to and the overly cocky driving styles of some of the drivers. While one certainly feels smart when not trapped by a long line of traffic, the meanderings of the drivers, who bob and weave through traffic, can be terrifying, especially with the lack of proper safety gear for passengers.