Ugandans have expressed a preference to choose women motorcycle drivers popularly known as Boda Boda if they were available, based on safety and care factors. This is according to a recent user survey conducted by Audience Dialogue consultants
The study: Boda Boda Project Uganda was carried out between November 2016 and December 2016.
One respondent said: “Because I believe they are trustworthy and calm”. Some respondents queried the ability of women to handle the aggressive nature of the industry.
Riding a boda boda in Uganda, and especially in Kampala, is sometimes referred to as dicing with death on wheels.
It has been called Uganda’s silent killer, placing an increasing burden on a stretched medical budget such as at Mulago Hospital in Kampala.
In 2011 there were a reported 1762 serious accidents involving boda boda in Kampala alone.
Critics of the Boda Boda’s cite the high number of accidents involving Boda Boda , and gruesome deaths and injuries, to push for reform or even removal of boda boda’s.
Improving public safety underpinned the advent of private company Safe Boda to the streets of Kampala, claiming to offer solutions to the growing transport problem in Kampala. To solve this problem, there is need to incorporate the boda boda drivers, and the desires of people who use them.
The study sought to understand boda boda from the consumer perspective, discover the actual experience, perceptions and ideas from boda boda customers
The study findings reveal Ugandans have reservations on boda boda, but continue to use them heavily, 60% take boda rides on a daily basis to several times a week. Just 8% do not use boda boda.
The 60% of boda boda users are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, based on their mixed experiences, whilst the rest are satisfied or very satisfied
The boda boda were rated for their speed, time saving, convenience, flexibility and also, the location knowledge of the drivers. A respondent summed it:
“They save time in rush hours, jam etc. They are available most of the time and can go where vehicle can’t. One can easily have special appointments with them they take you where you don’t know.”
The more common dislikes were reckless driving, speeding, not following road rules, the poor personal hygiene of the drivers and a perception of dishonesty.
However, despite these factors, less than half of people who use boda boda’s appear overly fussy in choosing a driver, including using someone they know or Safe Boda. The most common method is to simply pick a driver from the street.
People claim to choose drivers based on smartness of appearance, wearing of helmet, condition of bike and literacy-with no mention of insurance.
Boosting usage of boda boda
Most respondents gave 2 or 3 factors they believe would increase their usage of boda boda , or even prompt them to use one. The ability of drivers to collect people from a specific place led the way, followed closely by better route knowledge, and careful and slow riding.
A majority of respondents made suggestions mainly relating to presentation, identification and knowledge.
A few respondents claimed they would be prepared to pay a small premium on the fare to ride with an accredited driver who offers insurance.
John Goslino, the CEO Audience Dialogue says the results suggest the boda boda industry and indeed individual drivers could make changes that improve the customer experience and their incomes, and without necessarily needing regulatory intervention.
He adds: A collective-owned version of Uber may be one area worth exploring.
What do you think about these findings? What can be changed to improve the experience for boda boda customers, the general public?