The cosmopolitan city of Douala witnesses an increase in population by the day. Since it is one of the major gateways into Cameroon, people trooping in from different countries, towns and regions hold their security as a priority. The period that is equally a peak for swindlers on-board yellow cabs and bikes, has made it easier for those offering car rental services to flourish. Car rental services are available for in and out of town use. While some hire for hours, some use may use the cars for days and even weeks. Some companies carry out the activity only with employed drivers on monthly salaries, while others go work with drivers on on-off jobs.
According to the boss of a renowned car rental service agency in Douala, there is a great need for car rental services in the country. “Owing to frequent robberies onboard yellow cabs and motor bikes, people have put their security first, and will prefer to spend huge sums on it,” she said. In Easy Ride; one of the renowned car rental companies, car rental is done in hours and with company’s drivers only. Well-dressed drivers of the company take customers around town in comfortable cars that have access to internet and other facilities.
Other agencies that give out vehicles with and without drivers are also doing well. With a driver, the amount paid is higher than without a driver. Should a customer have to travel out of town without a driver, caution is paid. In RTX (Rental, Travels & Xchange), should a customer is not in need of company’s driver, they pay FCFA 500,000 as caution. Since there is no business without risk, a staff in RTX said apart from the caution, their vehicles have tracking systems and are equally insured in case a customer disappears with the vehicle.In RTX, hiring a pickup for a day costs FCFA 50,000 and out of town is FCFA 65,000 with a driver. A coaster costs FCFA 350,000 in town and FCFA 400,000 out of town while a Prado cost FCFA 95,000 in town and FCFA 110,000 out of town.
Though lucrative, most actors in the sector operate clandestinely. They rent out cars meant for sale and make more profit because after renting the cars out, they still sell at the same price. Traffic jam, bad roads and numerous mixed controls are some of the difficulties the sector is faced with.