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July 2010 Vol 10 - No 7 - Pic of the Month: Taxi, Taxi… PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 06 July 2010 22:40
Article Index
July 2010 Vol 10 - No 7
2nd Editor’s Letter: When the Bell tolls
Bike of the Month: The Polar Beast
Motorcycle Diaries: Stars go North
Safety tips: Cluster or Solo?
Star Gazer: What is a Biker?
Pic of the Month: Taxi, Taxi…
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Pic of the Month: Taxi, Taxi…

Motorcycles as public transport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


By Anton Popov,

Star Riders Russia


“Motorcycle excursions around the city”, the guy is shouting through a mouthpiece. He is advertizing his services are in most demand: on Vorobyovy Gory (in Russian meaning Sparrow Hills), a square with a panoramic view attracting hundreds of foreign tourists visiting Moscow and even more local motorcyclists. Another guy has a “Bike Taxi” label attached to his Suzuki SV600. But riders-for-money are still scarce in Russia’s capital, although the trend seems pretty clear. There are places in the world where two-wheel taxis are more common and are regarded more as a utility rather than a dangerous and freaky attraction. In Paris, France you could catch a Honda Goldwing to get to the airport or around the city’s heavy traffic. But that is no comparison to what I recently saw in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s capital. What you see in this picture is an entire row of bikes (typically 125cc Hondas) used as taxies. The place is favela Rosinha, the biggest favela in Latin America. Favelas are poorer districts supplying workforce for much of the city’s service sector. The 2000 census revealed that about half a million residents of Rio live in such places. Rio’s upscale districts are mostly located on flat land, while favelas cling to steep hill slopes. This factor creates a huge demand for bike taxis: for a couple reais (about US$1) you can get from favela’s border in the valley to the very top of the hill or back. This would take you about 5 minutes instead of half an hour on foot under the blazing sun. Taxi riders are organized in specialized companies and wear vests indicating the company’s name and telephone. There are hundreds of them cruising back and forth through Rosinha. Many people are reluctant to be photographed in favelas, so the guy in front turned his face away just as I put up my camera. For no particular reason – locals say its just an old habit of being on the safe side. Life in favelas can be difficult at times, and most of the people living here are decent and hard workers, like these riders earning their living by taking passengers up and down the hill.


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