BILLY FM WHEELBARROWTAXI SERVICE – Courier Service
There are 5 green rickshaws that mainly perform ‘hand taxi service’ around Kokopo Market.
This is the initiative of 32-year-old Ben Alves. Ben is not a visitor to East New Britain, where he received all of his education starting at Pitapatip Elementary School and continuing through Kokopo High School from which he graduated in 2010.
His mother, Tolay, is Luciana Golpo, as his biological parents took his livelihood out of death and remarriage. He completed Hagen Technical College with a qualification in automotive electricity.
However, his interest in media took him away from the career he qualified for and he returned to work for Terry Lombot at East New Britain Radio as a junior radio presenter covering school sports.
His media stint influenced work with Morobe Radio and Mission Hope FM after which he joined the National Maritime Safety Authority as a Junior Graft Officer and worked in Moresby until a serious medical condition caused him to return to East New Britain to his mother Tolay.
He had recovered from his illness and on medical advice needed to get a job that would give him plenty of exercise.
This is how Ben chose to establish the Manual Taxi Service. Ben is always sweaty and wears sneakers, pants, a t-shirt, and a luminous green work jacket. He is always on the move around Kokopo Market transporting anything and everything he can fit into his wheelbarrow.
The hand rickshaw taxi service has been created to help any marketers who have bags or sacks that need to be transported from PMV delivery points anywhere near the market to market stalls for a fee.
“I’m sorry to see my mother. All sa cream bellum, kumu basket and put the baby on top of kumu time all kalab for sim PMV. All the staff lost all the food from all the land, so the aching hearts went to buy food to the market stalls for slim,” commented Ben.
“So I came to see all the market authorities and everyone urged me to help all mothers, I must register for Wheelbarrow Taxi service immediately before I can start working.”
Ben got it right away. The necessary paperwork was completed with the IPA and the taxi service was started with one rickshaw.
His taxi service was very active and impressive. Ben started transporting goods from PMV stations to market stalls from K2 to K10.
On a good day, a single taxi can earn up to 200 kwacha. He will also be required to transport food goods from the market to the Kokopo Waterfront for speedboats.
The longest hand taxi he took away from the market was for a tourist visitor who transported his load from the market to the Al Ghazal International Hotel.
The Governor of New Britain East learned of this initiative and donated two milk carts while Kokopo Village Resort donated the other two bringing the total of hand taxis to 5.
He employed 4 boys, Junias, Didi, Stephen and Jeffrey. Their work was very irregular and inconsistent.
The income Ben made for himself was always higher than for the boys.
The other four taxis were not generating enough income to break even with the expenses incurred.
Ben realized he had to improve the motivation the four boys were getting while working for Ben. So Ben encouraged them to own a hand taxi.
They purchased the taxi user rights to the rickshaw from Ben and took ownership of the taxis as the sole owners of their rickshaw and accepted responsibilities for all upkeep and upkeep as well.
This incentive has worked very well. It was a win-win.
Ben hopes that a few unemployed youth will take such initiatives and earn a decent living for themselves.
This would help Ben grow his small taxi business, as well as helping more elderly and disabled marketers, whose taxi team agreed to help transport their loads for free.
Auto rickshaw taxi service is not uncommon.
It is also found in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and India as well. In those mentioned countries, they are popular and reliable, and they also have their own rickshaw association to protect their business interests.
Ben is a leader in action. He’s always in the market area before the market’s rostered morning shift staff arrive to check wheelbarrows and change a flat tire or tighten a nut or bolt before his team arrives to begin the day’s chores.