SafeBoda’s growth from a ride hailing app to transforming Uganda’s transport industry

Namara Grace, a resident of Kiwatule is a day student at Makerere University and has to get to the University early every morning to attend her lectures on time. However, with the unpredictable flow of traffic in Kampala with motorists, drivers and commercial transporters striving to get to their destinations as well, Grace finds it difficult to get to campus in time for her lectures every morning.

This is because for her, the most affordable way to get to the University is using a commuter taxi. In rarer occasions, she hails a boda boda but while it gets her to school in time, it is not safe as they often break traffic rules including running the traffic lights which may cause accidents in the name of saving time.

However, according to Grace, since the advancement of the SafeBoda motorcycle ride hailing service, she can order safer, affordable and convenient rides to the University through the app and be in time for her lectures.

SafeBoda is a fintech operating in Uganda involving a fast growing community of over 10000 riders using mobile phone technology to bring services to the people.

Since its inception in 2015, SafeBoda has enabled the general population to hail rides using the app from the comfort of their locations to different areas around the city.

Recently, the App has advanced to include a cashless option whereby passengers can pay the riders seamlessly. Other exclusive features include being able to buy airtime and being able to send and track packages through the app without need for carrying the package physically.

In addition to being convenient for its customers, Safeboda has enabled riders to increase their earnings, gain access to financial services and improved the livelihoods of their families while making it possible for thousands of passengers to travel in Kampala.

The SafeBoda riders attest to seeing significant increase in their business thus having an impact on their lives, families and the wider community.

Julius Buyondo, SafeBoda rider number 3751 says since he joined SafeBoda in 2018, he has been able to make enough profits to buy a second boda boda which earns him about 10,000 shillings per day. This is in addition to his monthly net earnings of about 715,000 shillings “I have been able to cover basic needs such as food, rent and paying school fees for my siblings from my earnings from SafeBoda” says Buyondo.

Safeboda riders usually earn 30 per cent more than regular boda bodas, even though the prices are fixed, because it is faster for them to get new customers through the app.

According to Zianah Muddu, Engagement Partner at the Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda (FITSPA), fintechs such as SafeBoda are supporting their riders by extending loans for school fees and other driver needs. “Over 5000 drivers are covered under life insurance every month and over 1000 have access to personal medical insurance at a very small premium,” she says.

As such, SafeBoda has been able to advance financial inclusion in Uganda by offering favourable financial services both to its riders as well as their customers including those with limited access to funds.

SafeBoda ensures that riders receive extensive training to make them the safest and most professional riders on the streets. When joining SafeBoda, riders are trained in road safety, first aid, bike maintenance and customer care. They are also equipped with hairnets and a spare helmet for the passenger’s safety.

In addition, while taking on rides, the riders are identifiable and trackable through the system giving their passengers surety of their safety while using SafeBoda. This comes as a solution to rampant boda boda related crimes that defined the industry before the inception of SafeBoda and related applications.

SafeBoda is also extending its reach further into other African countries such as Kenya. SafeBoda Kenya was launched in June 2018 and managed to register over 600 riders in the first six months after their launch.

The best innovations are the ones tailored to solve and change lives whilst leaving a mark on the generation. SafeBoda has been able to change the face of the transport industry by providing safety as well as inclusiveness for all.

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