In Liberia, making a living pushing people into a taxi

The demand for shared taxis in Liberia is so great that 'car loaders' have built a job out of pushing as many people into a taxi as possible.

By , Correspondent

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    This March 17, 2010 photo shows a taxi driving on a road in central Monrovia, Liberia.
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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Forget the oshiya, the white-gloved “pushers” who cram people into Japan’s subways. Car loaders here could give them a run for their money.
Working with the shared taxis that ply the streets of Monrovia, car loaders shout destinations to potential passengers then help squeeze into the car more people than would seem possible.

A congregation point is Monrovia’s bustling “red-light” district named for its single traffic light (now gone). In a maelstrom of people and cars, the service can be useful but a fee is expected for the unrequested help. Loaders will bounce on the trunk until they are paid.

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In a country where formal employment is estimated at only 15 percent, creating new ways of making money is necessary. “Not good money, but it’s work,” says one loader.

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