APP SET TO EX­PAND FOOT­PRINT

Pretoria News - - Focus -

A RIDE-HAIL­ING app for mo­tor­cy­cle taxis that is trans­form­ing pub­lic trans­port in Uganda aims to ex­pand to at least 20 other African cities, its co-founder says. SafeBoda, founded in 2015 by a former mo­tor­cy­cle taxidriver from Uganda and two Euro­pean economists, counts 6 000 rid­ers in its net­work in the cap­i­tal Kam­pala and is backed by so­cial en­ter­prise in­vestors, in­clud­ing Bri­tish-based Global In­no­va­tion Fund. “We plan to grow and cover at least 20 African cities and be able to make sure that peo­ple can com­mute safely,” co­founder Ricky Thomp­son Rapa said. Most cap­i­tals across the con­ti­nent are grow­ing rapidly and have huge youth pop­u­la­tions, but are plagued by poor road in­fras­truc­ture. Most lack mod­ern ur­ban mass trans­porta­tion sys­tems like sub­ways and or­gan­ised bus ser­vices. SafeBoda launched in the Kenyan cap­i­tal Nairobi in June and driv­ers in bright or­ange vests with the com­pany logo now buzz about the city of more than 4 mil­lion peo­ple. In Uganda’s cap­i­tal, “boda bo­das” – the term in East Africa for mo­tor­cy­cle taxis – are the main form of pub­lic trans­port. Clus­ters of them are found at in­ter­sec­tions all around the traf­fic­clogged city. But pas­sen­gers must weigh the speedy way of dodg­ing grid­lock against safety con­cerns. Hos­pi­tals of­ten treat pa­tients in­jured in ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing the mo­tor­cy­cles. SafeBoda has drawn com­pe­ti­tion – three other ride-hail­ing apps for mo­tor­cy­cle taxis launched this year. | Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

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