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Saipa cars in Iraq… Trouble for policemen and women

February 04, 2013 10:00

“Saipa is invading the streets like a yellow plague”… This is how Baghdad citizens are describing thousands of Iranian yellow taxi cars. However points of view diverge when it comes to the cars’ advantages and disadvantages.

The capital’s roads are crowded with thousands of Saipa cars in addition to other imported models. Traffic authorities in Baghdad have always complained that internal roads cannot assimilate those numerous cars.

The Iranian manufacturer of “Saipa” announced last year that more than 1400 cars are exported to Iraq every 4 months.

Iranian authorities also declared that during 2011, it exported to Iraq no less than 18 thousand vans amounting to 100 million dollars.

Saipa is mainly driven in Baghdad and other provinces by teenagers who buy these cars thanks to bank loans with small installments. Many unemployed men find in the Iranian taxi a solution to their economic problems.

A 2012 model Saipa costs about 8500 Dollars however bank loans with small installments help many individuals with low-income to buy these cars since car exhibitions and national banks provide affordable loans.

“I had to quit school to help support my family however looking for a job in Iraq is quite a hard task” said Jasem Sadeq, age 24, in a statement to Alsumaria, revealing that 2 months ago he bought “a Saipa via a loan from a national bank in the city center of Baghdad”.

Owners of these Yellow Iranian cars consider that these vehicles provide many benefits for passengers. “The small size of the car grants it agility to evade traffic”, said Salem Oubeid, age 32, in a statement to Alsumaria

However Saipa is a nuisance to traffic patrols and policemen.

“Youngsters drive these cars recklessly and violently; they also tend to break traffic laws” said traffic officer Mohamad Radi in a statement he made to Alsumaria during his shift at the crossroads of As Sader city.

“Saipa drivers prefer not to stop at traffic lights and use the car’s small size to maneuver and evade traffic at crossroads” added Radi.

“My fast and compact car helps me avoid traffic at intersections, drive on sidewalks and through tight spaces” commented Mustafa Salim aged 20, another Saipa driver living in Al Athamiya.

Mustafa also considers that what Saipa drivers are accused of can be applied to any other car in Baghdad. “Traffic does not force solely Saipa drivers to break the law” he noted, highlighting that “working as a taxi driver in Baghdad is not very rewarding. Passengers pay a little sum for a ride that takes too much time due to traffic and checkpoints.

“Saipa drivers are a nuisance; they speed and do not abide by checkpoints’ requirements such as turning on the car’s lights or opening the side windows”, said an army officer in Al Qahira street.

“Saipa drivers are trouble makers however we bear with them… they are mere teenagers and they act according to their age”, humored the soldier, adding that “despite the trouble they cause, they are amusing”.

Traffic officer Salman Munati doesn’t find Saipa drivers this amusing after arriving to the location of an accident on Mahmud Qassem highway. He actually held them responsible for the accidents resulting from reckless driving.

This traffic accident took place on the northern section of the highway in Baghdad. A pedestrian crossing the highway died after being hit by a Saipa driver who couldn’t reduce his car’s speed.

Women also prefer not to hire a Saipa cabdriver since these teenagers behave inappropriately around them.

Hind Salem, aged 25, stated to Alsumaria that she and her classmates “paid a Saipa cabdriver a monthly fee to drive them to university; however this agreement didn’t last for more than 2 months due to his inappropriate behavior and his mischievousness”.

Iraq Society
Source :  News Source
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