How we travel here – Ethiopian story!

EthflagIn our country Ethiopia, we use several different means of transportation. Road and air travel hold the main share. However, even though Ethiopia is a landlocked country, we also use water transportation in certain areas. People who live on the islands of Lake Tana, in the Amhara region, use boats to travel from their villages to the city of Bahirdar–one of the largest cities of the country. Additionally, residents of the capital city, Addis Ababa, are also eagerly waiting for the opening of the light rail public transportation service scheduled to be operational in the coming months. Although travel by train is not new to Ethiopia and Ethiopians, it is resuming service after a long interval.

On the other hand, the rural majority of our population is still dependent on animals such as horses, mules and donkeys to transport their products to the market. Carts and three wheeled bikes are also widely used in small towns, carrying people from downtown to various neighborhoods.

Auto, Midi and mini buses are the most commonly used means of public transportation for travel from one city to another. Though our celebrated Ethiopian Airlines has numerous daily local flights to different parts of the country, passengers prefer to use buses because they are cheaper. While traveling 783 km by air costs about 1500 Birr, it only costs 300-400 Birr to travel the same distance by bus. Minibuses commonly cost about 28-32 Birr per 100 km. Fuel in turn costs vehicle owners around 17 birr; in order to make fuel more affordable, gas is blended with ethanol.

When it comes to infrastructure, more and more roads and cross-country railways are being built. Most of the old roads cross complicated trails through mountains and dangerous geographic landscapes, especially towards the northern parts of the country; however, the roads currently under construction are secured and span across the whole country.

– by Yared T.