The changing face of commercial motorcycle transportation in Kampala

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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