40 years old “car rapides” soon going to be a thing of history

Published on : Friday, July 1, 2016

car rapidesLocally called as “car rapides,” the vibrantly painted buses in the streets of Dakar will soon be a thing of the past in the transport history. “Car rapides” which means ‘fast car,’ are going to be phased out by 2018 owing to the upgradation of the urban transportation network in the capital of Senegal.


Roaming around the streets for more than 40 years now, the car ‘rapides’ are proving imperative to modernize public transport in Dakar according to  Alioune Thiam, general director of Dakar’s Executive Council on Urban Transport (CETUD).  The current car rapides are too old and with the new transport, there will be improved options for safety, comfort, accessibility and eco-friendly emissions.


Originally made by French carmaker Renault, the buses were brought over for use in 1976.  They’re often painted with slogans and images of Sufi holy men and animals and trees. So, for some folks, even though they mark the end of an era in transport history, keeping the practicality in mind, people are happy.



Some tourists have found it dangerous and shocking as how the back doors swing open and how men hang off the back. But no matter how difficult and weird it seems to the tourists, the local folks find these crammed buses an integral part of the Senegalese modern landscape. With fun images and messages painted on them, is probably the only nice thing about these buses but they are in no way fit to be a part of the modern day transportation.



The new buses have higher prices and the tickets cost has rise from 25 cents to 35 cents. Some folks have suggested the new Indian and Chinese-made buses which can keep in the spirit of the car rapides and also get to paint them in a similar colourful fashion

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