By Haydar Karaalp
Auto-rickshaw taxis, known as "tuk-tuks" in many countries, are becoming increasingly commonplace in traffic-hit Baghdad as a viable alternative means of transport.
Fed up with the capital’s constant traffic congestion, many Baghdad residents are turning to tuk-tuks, which, they say, are much better suited for inner-city transport and more cost-effective than standard taxis.
Tuk-tuks, enthusiasts say, work particularly well on narrow streets and neglected roads on which other vehicles often get stuck.
And given their relatively cheap purchase price, tuk-tuks can also provide a valuable source of alternative income if employed as taxis in the crowded capital.
Baghdad resident Isham Abu Hamza told Anadolu Agency that he used his tuk-tuk to take his family out on the town.
“It not only saves us from the heavy traffic, but it’s also much cheaper compared to traditional taxis,” he said.
According to tuk-tuk driver Sayyid Resoul, auto rickshaws provide basic income for many Iraqi families.
“I was only able to marry and settle down after becoming a tuk-tuk driver,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Ammar Lami, a Baghdad mechanic specialized in tuk-tuk repair, said Iraqis of all ages preferred tuk-tuks over traditional taxis and other means of transportation.
“Tuk-tuks provide many of us with employment opportunities that we would not have otherwise,” Lami told Anadolu Agency.
“This motorized vehicle can go anywhere in the region, which -- unfortunately -- has become known for its antiquated road networks,” he added.
*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara