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December 28, 2012

Cape Town tuk-tuk taxis: ride in style from R25

A tuksi in the Bo-Kaap. Photo by Stuart Buchanan

Who needs four wheels when you can have three?

Cape Town's newest transport service, The Monarch Tuksi Company, recently launched a fleet of 20 brand new tuk-tuks to operate across the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard. Tuk-tuks are usually associated with cities in Asia and parts of Europe, but they are already causing quite a stir among tourists and locals in the Mother City.

So what makes these "tuksis" so special? Well, for a start, Monarch makes it clear that this is not a taxi service. Rather, every customer pays R40 to become a shareholder in the business, thus entitling them to a ride (the same way a private shuttle company might provide transport for their board members). As a shareholder in the company, the idea of "private transport" certainly helps create a feeling of extra-special treatment.

Not that you don't get that feeling during the ride anyway! My driver, Ebrahim, was friendly and helpful, and his local knowledge of Cape Town really added something special to the journey. The tuk-tuks are nippy little things; feeling the wind in my face and the heat of the sun as we zipped through the city's streets beats a boring car ride any day. And seeing the bemused looks of pedestrians and car drivers added extra novelty to the experience.

R40 on a Monarch tuksi will get you from Camps Bay to the City Bowl, and anywhere in between. As far as prices go, this undercuts most of the traditional taxi cab operators. But then again, Monarchs have also undercut on things like doors, and needing four wheels, so it all works out quite fair in the end. Their current promotion is R25 per person for a ride and a King Cone ice-cream – so you can look cool and stay cool too!

You can call them on 083 641 5453, email them, tweet them, send them a Whatsapp message or a BBM (pin 2171028A).

Arriving just off Long Street ... in style. Photo by Stuart Buchanan

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