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Thursday, 11 July 2019 00:40

The changing face of commercial motorcycle transportation in Kampala Featured

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Many Kampala urbanities who are indisposed to sitting through the city’s infamously long-early morning and late evening traffic jams, always rely on web-based motorcycle taxi service providers like Safe Boda to make it to their places of work, in time.


Safe Boda has been in high favour with many of the city’s residents, primarily because they have broken the mold with their service, choosing safety and caution, on the road, rather than recklessness.

Kampala’s roads are however still crawling with impatient motorcycle taxi riders, who, on a daily basis, recklessly navigate the city’s perilous roads without helmets.

According to the Uganda Police annual crime report 2018, motorcycles accounted for 60% of all vehicles involved in road crashes in 2018.

From 2014 to 2016, at least 7,000 people lost their lives in Boda Boda accidents in Uganda.

There are however, now safer and convenient alternatives in the form of Safe Boda, Taxify, Uber, etc.

Over the last four years, Safe Boda which principally transacts business, through its Smartphone App, has been transforming the commercial motorcycle transportation landscape in the rough and tumble metropolis of Kampala.

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Since it took root, the Safe Boda Company has created job opportunities for several Ugandan youth.

They have made it priority to give their clients safety / crash helmets [the single most effective way of protecting against injuries or death whilst riding on a boda boda].

Kampala may not exactly be that quintessential smart city, but its residents do catch up quick with trends and notwithstanding, a few mishaps like limited IT skills and knowledge, a big number of the city’s residents have sure embraced the Safe Boda digital service and its gig workers, who wear identifiable orange color reflecting vests and helmets.

The upshot of Safe Boda’s radical approach has been disciplined riding by their riders and fewer road crashes on Kampala’s roads.

“In many respects, the risk of road traffic crashes involving Safe Boda riders is lower, compared to Kampala’s regular, kamikaze motorcyclists. That primarily is, on account of their respect for traffic rules. It is hard to find a Safe Boda rider running the traffic lights, like most regular Boda Boda riders in Kampala, do,” Isaac Tusubira of Easy Ride Accident Solutions, says.

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Ricky Thomson Rapa, one of the co-founders of Safe Boda says at present, they have over 10,000 riders in Kampala alone.


“In Nairobi, there are over 1,500 riders and many more in Mombasa. The numbers are set to grow further, as long as we do not waver in adhering to our set objective, which is the provision of safety to clients,” Rapa says.

“Safe Boda’s biggest achievement has been the transformation of the Boda Boda industry in Kampala, which hitherto is known for its disorganised nature.
Our Boda Bodas are professionals. The orderly way in which they work is a far cry from Kampala’s regular Boda Boda riders. They are given first Aid, customer service, technology and financial literacy trainings,” Rapa adds.

“Before, we set forth with our operations, less than one percent of Boda Boda passengers in Kampala used to wear crash helmets. Now more than seventy percent of our clients, wear them. Prior, less than thirty percent of Boda Boda riders used to wear crash helmets; now over hundred percent wear crash helmets.”

One of the other standout achievements for Safe Boda has been the building of the first ever Boda Boda motorcycle training Academy, where all prospective boda boda riders are painstakingly trained in the observance of traffic rules, safe riding, etc.

For the future, the Safe Boda powers that be are looking at expanding to other cities such as Lagos, Daressalam and many other African cities, to boot.  

“The future of digital technologies like Safe Boda is looking ever brighter. Africa’s young population is growing fast and many are moving to cities, which are increasingly getting congested and inundated by traffic grid locks. With that growth, comes a need for safe, fast and affordable means of transportation,” Rapa says.


 

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Wetaya Richard

I have more than five years’ working experience in the media industry.

I wield a skilful pen as a writer and Iam presently one of the most proficient features writers at the "Features Desk" of the “New Vision”- Uganda’s leading premier Newspaper.

At the “New Vision”, I have given a good account of myself as a features writer and that has shown in my well thought out and deeply researched human interest stories, which have been published on topics such as maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies, climate change, the importance of cultural customs, rising sexual harassment in Uganda’s health sector; amongst other topics.

Several of my standout feature stories have been published in the "Big Read" section of the New Vision.

For good measure, I also write for my personal blog called MasaabaChronicles.com.

Before I joined the New Vision, I had worked a broadcast Journalist with Signal FM radio in Mbale, Eastern Uganda.

My weekly show packed a punch and was very popular with the youth demographic in Eastern Uganda.
It was an informative and educative programme that essentially encouraged the youth to embrace initiatives that bring a value to their lives.

I am also into worthy causes.

Last year, I was awarded a medal and certificate for my participation in the Journey of Hope marathon walk; a walk whose set objective was to reverse the flow of child trafficking and unsafe migration from Karamoja-in the North-East of Uganda.

The 18 day- 467 walk began in Kampala-Uganda’s capital city and ended in Napak-Karamoja.

Iam also into marathon running for worthy causes.

For the last two years, I have excelled in the MTN Marathon.

I was the best runner from the New Vision and have gotten medals for my efforts.

My professional goal is to be able to open new horizons for myself as a multi media Journalist and to spread my wings as a writer; beyond my current environment.

I want to be able to bring my writing skills to bear with other platforms.

I believe writing further beyond my current environment will sharpen my creative writing skills for the better.

Other interests

Playing basketball-Several medals and Certificates recieved for playing the game
Philanthropy
Traveling
Writing Poetry
Hip Hop

Phone Contact-+256756096335
Email--jayrichards3@gmail.com

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