SafeBoda, a ride-hailing app for motorcycle taxis, which is transforming public transport in Uganda, hopes to expand to at least 20 other countries. The company, which was founded in 2015, by a former motorcycle taxi driver and two European economists, has 6000 riders in its network operating in the country’s capital Kampala.
SafeBoda is backed by social enterprise investors, including British-based Global Innovative Fund. The company’s co-founder Ricky Thompson Rapa told Reuters that “we plan to grow and cover at least 20 African cities and be able to make sure that people can commute safely”.
Quite a lot of capitals across the continent have a huge working population but are plagued with poor roads and lack modern transportation. This signifies an opportunity for SafeBoda in other African countries. SafeBoda launched its service in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, a city of about 4 million people in June 2018.
In Kampala, Motocycle taxis are the main form of transportation and can be found at all intersections in the city. Although SafeBoda has competition, three other ride-hailing apps for motorcycle taxis also launched in 2018, Rapa says the concept of well trained drivers, equipped with helmets for themselves and passengers helps the company stand out.
Rapa also noted that SafeBoda has helped bring operations to order in a lightly regulated industry by encouraging standardised fares for trips and improved safety and security for passengers. He said the biggest challenge is that drivers are inexperienced users of smartphones, so the company has trained them to be better able to receive and respond to the passenger’s requests.
Rapa said SafeBoda’s research shows drivers signed to their service are making 30 percent more than their colleagues not on the app.