French in Senegal

Local Transportation

People on the back of a bus

Buses run all the time within Dakar city. They can be crowded and do not necessarily keep to a regular schedule. Information about schedules and routes is easily gotten by asking any passerby. One must pay close attention since there is often a chance of theft or inappropriate behavior toward women passengers. If something inappropriate should happen, one’s best bet is to simply let it be known loudly to other passengers.

There are numerous other options for local transportation, which come in the form of vehicles known as “ndjaga ndiaye.” These are vans that are smaller versions of buses; they seat approximately 21 people and, like the buses, have specific routes. They do not travel by a schedule, but rather, leave for the destination when the van is nearly full. One pays a flat fee and can get off at any point along the route. Many of these vehicles begin their routes at the port in Dakar city, but they have many routes through the city and even as far as the suburbs. One always knows where the bus is going since the conductor stands outside the back of the bus calling out the destination as he collects the fares.

There is a smaller version of the van called a “car rapide” that is generally an older Mercedes that has been imported from another country. These vehicles only seat up to fifteen, however they make more stops and are cheaper than the vans. There is a single, set price for each passenger. One does not have to wait as long for these vehicles to start out, and, once they have started their route, they can simply be hailed as they pass. A car rapide is cheap enough to be hired to carry one’s own party exclusively to a destination. Like the vans, there is always a conductor available, shouting the destinations and taking money.

Even smaller vans that seat only seven have routes that go out of Dakar into the back country.


  • "Taking a 'Dem Dikk' Bus"
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  • "Transportation in the City"
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