By Mary Hearty

SafeBoda, Africa’s biggest motorcycle ride-hailing company, has launched the COVID-SAFE program amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya. The program is aimed at equipping the rider community with factual information, prevention measures and strategies for keeping the SafeBoda community safe.

This follows the measured announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta for the containment of the global pandemic, Coronavirus.

The ride-hailing company which has a rapidly growing customer base at 1 million, began in Uganda in 2015, with market presence in Kenya and more recently, Nigeria, is revolutionizing transportation, payments and on-demand services in African cities. The services are commuter rides, delivery services and recently launched low-cost local food delivery.

Speaking during the launch, SafeBoda Kenya Country Head, John Ngari said, “While employment opportunities, especially for the youth, continue to cut down in these tough economic times, we continue to find more innovative ways to further increase our riders’ incomes.”

Unlike other drivers, SafeBoda provides training carried out on all drivers as a mandatory requirement for joining the SafeBoda Community. Also, it undertakes the riders, motorbikes, through rigorous background checks.

SafeBoda offers fresh hair nets for clients for every ride taken to reduce the transfer of scalp oils. In addition, a rider and the passenger must wear a helmet and a reflective jacket.

Moreover, the app provides an In-passenger rating and feedback option after every ride. SafeBoda app also exclusively allows clients to match and pair with the closest or preferred rider.

“We are proud to have successfully transformed bodaboda from an employer of last resort to formal jobs with benefits usually given to formal sector employees,” Ngari added.

According to Ngari, among the benefits provided by SafeBoda to support driver community to formalize their businesses include, providing them with a platform to maximize earnings, encouraging savings through the SafeBoda Sacco.

Furthermore, there is access to a life cover of 100,000 Kenya shillings per rider, access to an accident cover and regular training at SafeBoda hubs in every city it is present.

Lynn Karigu, the CEO Motorbike Assemblers Association of Kenya (MAAK) said, “As an association, we are committed to promoting safe and lawful motorcycle culture.”

The motorcycle industry is a multimillion cash economy that is key in contributing to economic development of Kenya. This is through increased employment and revenue generation.

“We look forward to seeing motorbikes take up their rightful place in last-mile logistics, a critical plug in to growing economy,” said Karigu.

Since the government recommends minimum social contact, shoppers are encouraged to use SafeBoda as an alternative to visiting shopping malls, order food on the SafeBoda app and consider taking a safe ride, in place of crowded public transport.

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