Ethiopian based taxi hailing app – TAXIYE has launched in the country to connect vast boda boda operators to customers in a bid that’s targeted at tapping into Kenya’s lucrative taxi industry. Kenyans have traditionally preferred motorbike taxies compared to cars as they are generally affordable and can access even remote areas that vehicles cannot access.
Despite the popularity boda boda operators enjoy in the country, the sector has faced criticism for various reasons ranging from crime related incidences to price inflations. This has made some taxi companies to try and unveil their own regulated services which promise the ability to track a driver in case of crime and also set a fixed rate to charge customers.
According to TAXIYE Chief Executive officer Eve Maina, the company is set to invest Ksh.2 billion in the business by offering taxi drivers with motorcycles as well as vehicles through some form of lease that will see them owning their businesses. Maina further said the company was allowing drivers to acquire cars as well as motorbikes for their businesses at competitive rates. For instance, a boda boda operator may only need to make a daily payment of Ksh 250 to own a motorbike as well as a smartphone for their operations.
Boda boda operators will have a choice of paying within 3 months or up to 18 months while drivers will have up to 3 years to clear their loan. Recently, the Boda boda safety association of Kenya unveiled a centralized database to capture member details that would help curb crime by rogue operators in the country. At the moment, there are a number of Boda boda apps such as UberBoda and Safeboda that also allow customers to book for rides directly from the apps.
speaking during the launch event, Kenya’s ICT cabinet secretary Mucheru acknowledged that boda bodas were important in the country’s economy highlighting how motorbikes consume in excess of Ksh 7 billion in fuel every month and therefore needed to be recognized in that respect.
Boda boda association of Kenya (BAK) chairman Mr mobadi on his part said the industry offered the largest number of employment opportunities to Kenyan youths with an estimated 1.2 million youths currently earning a living from the sector. He further stated that some youths even shared a single motorbike to earn a living and TAXIYE’s move would rectify this thereby easing pressure from the government due to unemployment.