Of Wish Diaries: Ride Sharing In A Toyota Wish

The Toyota Wish Is the New Emergency Taxi….

That was the thought that flashed in my head when I was bundled in the back of a metallic black Toyota Wish with no number plates and Tinted windows…

me in the back of a pirate taxi

Ever since the government decided to use the guise of lockdown and COVID to get rid of commuter omnibuses one does not have much of choice when waiting for transport to commute as the designated public transporter ZUPCO is grossly under-capacitated to ferry everyone efficiently.

Sometimes for a particular route you may have to wait for the bus to go and then come back and pick you up, but if you are running on schedule, well you take what, you can get and sometimes that could be a Honda FIT or a Toyota Raum or Wish known colloquially as Mshika Mshika or zvipipipi from the constant sound of their horns to attract customers and boy do they pack you in there like sardines.

Pirate taxies illegally load people while stopped in the middle of the street in Harare, Zimbabwe.  (Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe)
Pirate taxies illegally load people while stopped in the middle of the street in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Linda Mujuru, GPJ Zimbabwe)

Its almost reminiscent of an era I half remember from before the mini-van taxis but after the collapse of the ZUPCO Public Transport when the only transportation available was pirate taxis mostly in the for the Peugeot 404 Station Wagons which were known as Emergency Taxis or E.T.s for short…

Peugeot 404 Station Wagon

The Wish is the New Emergency Taxi

I thought of this as I checked out the rest of the people packed in the car alongside me, 11 people including the driver, that’s how many people you can cram into a Toyota Wish. People who would much rather be anywhere than in this death trap, weaving in and out traffic driving recklessly, as they silently offering prayers that they arrive safely to their destination.

The Wish is the New Emergency__

The thought didn’t quite finish forming in my head because after a high risk three point turn, the car took a detour down a derelict route that seemed like the kind of route that would be taken by kidnappers who are going to strip you off your valuables and maybe even leave you for dead down a deserted service lane….

I have heard and read in alarm, reports about the increase in the number of robberies and assaults happening to people who catch lifts from unregistered vehicles…. Police warn people to desist from hitchhiking lifts, but really do we have a choice?….

The Wish is where I will die

This was the new thought in my head as I thought about how I would die in a Toyota Wish and no one would ever know of how I was ordering my recollection of the trip so if I lived to tell the tale I would write about it…. Well you are reading about it, so clearly I made it out alive to write about it, or could have drafted it in the ice cold silence that was in the car, broken by the lady next to me who asked me, where the car was going.

ride sharing passengers in a Toyota Wish pirate taxi

I looked back at her and shook my head to show that her guess was as good as mine, we had been standing together by the roadside when the metallic black Toyota Wish with the tinted windows and no number plates had pulled up and the driver said, said one word “Town?” We got into the car and a few more stops later the car was packed…

...And now it was headed for destination unknown

The lady beside me gestured for me to ask the driver where we were going. I took a deep breath and called out to the driver

“Driver!”

He looked into the rear view mirror and our eyes met, his were quite bloodshot “Madii Rasta?” he asked meaning whats the matter Rasta?, from the rear view mirror he could see my locs.

Muri kuenda nekupi?” I enquired, asking which way we were going.

Police iri kunetsa” He replied referring to how the police had roadblocks out to stop people like him from making money..

Black Toyota Wish

People like him being people who drive a Toyota Wish. If you drive a Toyota Wish and there is more than one person in your car then best believe the police will stop you to see if you aren’t pirating and if you are, of course, it becomes a conversation that will relive your wallet of several dollars, unless you fancy being arrested and your car being impounded.

We eventually made it into town and the driver had the audacity to pull right into the main Taxi Rank and drop us off next to a ZUPCO Combi and started calling for passengers going where he had just picked us up, sometimes you reach where you are going, sometimes……

The Wish Is The New ET

~B

20 Comments

  1. Haha Oh My Goodness, This reminds me when a friend and I foolishly grabbed a private taxi instead of a bus to my village. Halfway through, police ofcourse stopped the car and out came a panga. What is panga in English? Oh a machete!! ANd he was promising to cut the policeman if he dared asked for money. All 9 of us in the car kept extremely quiet. We reached out destination and I vowed never ever ever to take a private car.
    I am glad you arrived in one piece or is it wish?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my word!!!!! Ok now that was an experience and I can imagine through out you were busy thinking I hope this guy what if he turns the panga on you guys…

      I want to say I will never get into a Wish again but then it cant be helped.
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow. . .
    But in a twisted way – isn’t it fun annoying the government by finding ways to survive (or dare I say prosper) under their rules which seem designed to prevent it?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. interesting to learn how we have similar scenarios, hahahaha sometimes you think its peculiar to you only to see how its so common
      ~B

      Like

  3. I have been packed in a wish before these tendencies are much more common in villages in Uganda. And yes the wish is always the emergency.

    I laughed at the part of where sometimes we do end up where we are going sometimes….

    This is a painted picture of what’s its like in Zimbabwe.
    I can only pray and hope for better days for you too.

    We are complaining of curfew in Uganda you guys are limited in transportation. The irony🤦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well the Wish used to be more for longer journeys on the highway but after lockdown curbed intercity travel and of course seeing the gap in everyday commute into town, Wish drivers are taking over 🤣

      The irony!!! Those who can travel can’t and those who can’t travel can and nobody can really travel 😂
      ~B

      Like

    1. Hmmmm true but in such cases you usually find that some of the “passengers” will be in on it, so you get in assuming hey there’s other people so it should be safe.
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the case of the incident I shared the only other person I was fairly sure of was the person I got into the lift with, since we had been flagging down lifts together…

        But heck if I was part of syndicate of hitchhiker kidnappers that is exactly what I would do to…

        I am always freaked out when have to use public transport the stories I am hearing are 💔 makes me realise how we are surviving mostly by luck really 🤔 The police keep posting up notices for people not to get into strangers cars as cases pile up. 💀

        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

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