Amid high fuel prices and low income: Motorbike taxi service in Aleppo’s Azaz

Motorcycles in Azaz city in the northern Aleppo countryside - 23 September 2021 (Enab Baladi / Walid Othman)

Motorcycles in Azaz city in the northern Aleppo countryside - 23 September 2021 (Enab Baladi / Walid Othman)

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Enab Baladi – Azaz

Ahmad Saeed usually takes a motorbike taxi to move between Aleppo’s northern countryside areas to meet his household market needs or run his daily errands. He resorted to this transportation option after taxis’ riding costs became unaffordable, with fares exceeding his daily wage.

Saeed, a thirty-one-year-old construction worker, told Enab Baladi that motorbikes are easier to ride inside the city’s streets and faster than cars, especially after the Azaz local council transformed the city’s main streets into one-way roads, preventing reverse entry with the help of one-way spike barriers. 

Those who need a ride in Aleppo countryside cannot take taxis because of financial constraints amid high fuel prices and poor living conditions.

Rural areas of Aleppo are witnessing a rise in fuel prices, reaching 6.40 Turkish liras (0.72 USD) for a liter of good quality diesel oil, 6.80 Turkish liras (0.77 USD) for a liter of premium gasoline, and 90 Turkish liras ( 10.16 USD) for a domestic gas cylinder. 

Abdullah Farid, 24, a motorbike taxi owner in Azaz, told Enab Baladi that people are becoming increasingly dependent on motorcycles as a convenient means of transportation. They are either using their private motorbikes or motorcycle taxis for being an economic solution for low-income people.

The motorbike taxi service is currently only available in Azaz city out of all of Aleppo’s rural areas.

Every day, Farid stands at the usual motorcycle gathering spot near Azaz’s Maytam Mosque for hours, waiting for customers in exchange for a maximum fare of ten Turkish liras (1.13 USD) for the longest city ride.

Farid described his work on a motorcycle taxi as “a grace from God, given the poor economic conditions in the northern Syrian regions.”

Motorcycle taxi drivers give rides to customers to cities and towns neighboring Azaz, with the most rides being to Mare’ city.

Areas controlled by the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) suffer from high unemployment rates and commodity prices.

The rise in fuel prices is attributed to the SNA’s closure of some internal crossings with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)’s areas and the prohibition of fuel entry or any commercial goods.

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