Once upon a time there was a need to regulate the use of bikes – boda bodas in the city of Kampala. The regulations were to enable safety, ease monitoring and management of the bikes in the capital city. These regulations required bikers and their users to wear helmets, bikers to be registered under a stage and have riders’ permits. The main implementer for this was Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA).
Twice upon a time the above was halted but the wait for the resurrection is on.
But as young innovators and entrepreneurs of the Pearl of Africa, waiting on things we can do for ourselves seem not to be included in our DNA. Looking at the unsafe ways the boda industry is and the number of people we lose due its accidents, disruption and innovations had to happen. (According to a report by Makerere University College of Health Sciences and the department of orthopedics at Mulago, about 40% of trauma cases at the hospital are from boda-boda accidents (pdf). The treatment of injured passengers and pedestrians accounts for almost two-thirds of the hospital’s annual surgery budget.)
Enter Safe Boda:
You can’t miss them, with their orange helmets and vests. They are all over the city, riding with two helmets, picking people and delivering them to their desired destination; with a dream to be an example to other boda riders, change the narrative and identity of the boda business in the city and country at large.
They came to be in 2014, with an idea that has changed the way we look at transportation in this country. They built an innovation that joined and created a community of professional, trained motorcycle taxis drivers (boda-boda), offering a safer experience to passengers using a mobile app, and called it SafeBoda App. Last week an updated version of the app was launched with new features and an impressive interference.
The app is simple, with an orange and white interference, a side menu that draws payment with a toll free customer support number, alongside a user’s profile and the app’s setting. It should be known that those using windows phones can’t access the app as it is only available on Android and Apple stores.
On requesting for a bike, it should also be known that the app allows one bike request per session. Meaning you can’t order for two bikes at the same time. There are positives in this like,
- Promoting mobile phone usage in the country
- Promoting downloads for the app
- Promoting safe bike usage in the city. ( One bike, two people, two helmets).
- Promoting well controlled boda riders
- Promoting an almost equal market share among the boda rider
- Helping KCCA implement some of its regulations
If you download this app and are lucky to be among the first 1000 new downloads, you win celebratory rewards of free credits amounting to 15,000Ugx. These can be used to pay your fares when you reach your destination. The only problem is that when your credits are down, you can’t recharge. This I think is teasing us with a great feature; a SafeBoda wallet where we bank money for our rides.
The updated app’s limited to a selected areas in Kampala city ( as seen above), these including Nakasero, Central Business District, Kololo, Bugolobi, Mulago, Naguru, Bukoto and Ntinda . The rest of the other areas in the city will be added like Muyenga, Najjera, Rubaga, Makindye and many more in the coming weeks as I was told by the developer team, but I think we give it a month. So please be patient, innovation implementation takes time and this app will need this time.
Once upon a time, there was a problem and it was fixed it.
Twice upon a time the reality of the problem was huge and the solution needed to be upgraded.
I hope this story will have an happy ever after as you download and use the app to order for your ride.