Daladalas are everywhere and they’re cheep. But each mode of transport here has its pros and cons:
For 5x the price of a daladala I can get to the town center on a bodaboda (paid motorcycle) in 1/3rd the time, with 10x the fun, 1/4th the walking, 5x the exhaust/dust, 1/7th the swetty discomfort, 4.5x the risk, and 100x the poofy wind hair.
A taxi will get me places for 3x the bodaboda, 10x the privacy and comfort, 2.5x the time, and 2x the likelihood of cost sharing.
My time here is worth about 1/3rd as much as usual, and my expectation of comfort is about 1/2 of what it normally is. But money sometimes does buy happiness, when that happiness is not smashing into a daladala and not getting into trouble after dark.
So this is what I think about as I make my daily transportation choices. And all over the difference of $0.20, $1.00, or $2.30 (and varying multiples of those based on distance and time).
I returned to Arusha yesterday from the coast in Bagamoyo 570km miles across the northeaster part of the country. I took two bodabofas, packed into the back of a daladala, and jumped on a greyhound like bus for the whole 11hr trek, all costing me 41,000 TSH ($18.82). Not too shabby.
Betting from point A to point B is all part of the African experience. Its often hot, loud, cramped, and unpredictable (our taxi got two flat tires on the way to bagamoyo), but its also fascinating and a great way to rub shoulders with life outside the Western bubble.