TUKTUK The Gambia, transportation made easy in The Gambia

Sometimes the traffic in The Gambia can be very hectic, so it is always good to have different options for public transport. We have visited the workshop of the newest transportation system, TUKTUK The Gambia and got a chance to speak with the owner, Mr Chris Dietrich. The three-wheeled vehicles, which are very common in East Asia, are becoming quite a big hit in The Gambia.

Mr Chris got the idea when visiting Thailand. He describes the tuk-tuk riding night in Bangkok as an unforgettable experience. When moving to Liberia seven years ago, he saw how the Keke business is working and helping the inner city transportation system. In 2019, he ended up living in The Gambia somehow by mistake, and he noticed that many people are waiting for transport, especially in rush hours. After spending few months in the country, doing market research and getting used to the system, he decided to start the tuk-tuk business to bring something good to the country and its people. He shipped in the parts for the first vehicle in November 2019, and together with the team, they assembled the first vehicle.

There are many benefits of choosing tuk-tuk as a transport service. It is faster, and it is easier to get in and out. You always feel the nice breeze. It is more flexible and even more comfortable than other vehicles used in public transport, yet the price is the same; D8 per shared trip on the standard routes. The three-wheelers are designed for six passengers. You can take the tuk-tuk from Kotu to Serrekunda, Dippa Garage or Westfield.

As Mr Chris says, tuk-tuks are meant to serve people. But in Thailand, this mean of transport became a real tourist attraction. There you can even rent your own tuk-tuk to explore around the town. He feels it can be the same in The Gambia. Mr Chris is already discussing with some hotels to provide tuk-tuk service in organising the trips which would add to the experience when exploring the country.

Like yellow and green taxis, TUKTUK The Gambia also provides two types of service. Shared transport on certain routes for D8, which is somehow a hop-on-hop-off way of commuting, and town-trips, where the same as with taxi drivers, you agree on a price before the trip. You can also call their hotline and arrange for tuk-tuk pickup.
But there is a lot more going on in the background than a transport service. They offer investment opportunities where potential buyers can purchase the vehicle and drive it themselves or lease it to the driver. It is very common for the Gambian diaspora worldwide to support their families in The Gambia. With TUKTUK The Gambia, they can do so by providing their family members employment.
Additionally, they also have a youth initiative created together with the mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) and Social Development Fund The Gambia (SDFG). Youths from the Kanifing area will be able to own a tuk-tuk and generate their income. The pilot is already set, and the whole project should come alive within a year.
When talking about the future of the business, Mr Chris personally believes this mean of transport is very efficient. It is using only 25% of the gasoline in comparison with taxis. Tuk-tuks use 30% of the space when comparing the seats. They are also less harmful when it comes to pollution since it uses powerful 200cc engines with modern technology, so the consumption is minimal. There is no unpleasant smoke, which is standard with old vehicles used in public transportation service. Those plus sides of the tuk-tuk transport service appeal to the city governments to cooperate and reduce the negative effect of the transport pollution. Mr Chris concludes by simply stating: “In 5 years, I see a lot of tuk-tuks in The Gambia.”
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