Sunday, April 21, 2024
NewsTaxi-hailing firm alleges discrimination in police crackdown

Taxi-hailing firm alleges discrimination in police crackdown

But police implicates 35 taxi-hail vehicles in crime activities

A taxi-hailing service alleges a Federal Police Commission crackdown on criminal networks in Addis Ababa is unfairly targeting its drivers. Over a dozen taxis impounded by officers in the last few weeks remain in police custody.

The executives of ZayTech IT Solutions Plc and drivers of its ZayRide taxi service claim their vehicles are being selectively targeted by police officers and seized for alleged participation in crimes committed in the capital.

It is part of a citywide crime cleanup led by General Demelash G/Mikael, head of the Federal Police Commission.

A source at ZayTech told The Reporter of a recent incident, when a ZayRide driver had his car impounded by three police officers. Despite the vehicle owner’s expectations of a two-day wait for release, the car has been impounded at the Abebe Bekila Police Station in the Gerji neighborhood for longer than a week.

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The owner of the vehicle, who requested anonymity, suspects the impoundment of ZayRide taxis may be linked to the company’s ongoing efforts to include privately registered (Code 2) vehicles in its fleet.

The Addis Ababa Transport Bureau only permits vehicles registered to businesses (Code 3) to operate as taxis.

Habtamu Tadesse founded ZayRide in 2016. He confirmed the company is making efforts to facilitate the inclusion of private vehicles in the taxi-hailing industry.

Discussions on tax payment procedures are underway with city officials, according to Habtamu.

He told The Reporter that more than 15 vehicles affiliated with ZayRide have been impounded as a result of alleged involvement in criminal activities.

Habtamu says the company has reached out to the Federal Police Commission for clarification on the incidents. He confirmed a meeting has taken place between heads of the Commission and taxi-hailing services, in light of the growing need for security in the city’s transportation.

Jaylan Abdi, director of communications at the Federal Police Commission, refutes that police officers have been targeting ZayRide. He cites 35 that arrests have been made in the last few weeks based on “credible information of criminal activity.”

Jaylan confirmed receipt of ZayRide’s letter of inquiry, and says related information will soon be disseminated via the Commission’s television program.

In the meantime, Jaylan proposes the installation of security cameras in taxis as a safety measure for both drivers and passengers.

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