The multinational ride-hailing services Uber and Taxify are currently locked in an ‘arms’ race’ in Africa on who will digitize the big motorbike taxis market in Africa. The two are currently rolling out motorbike passenger services in Kenya and Uganda.
Commuters in the two East African countries can now order a motorbike taxi (popularly referred to as boda-boda) via the Uber and Taxify app.
Uber has branded the boda ordering service as uberBoda, which becomes the company’s first motorbike ordering service offering in Africa. The company first rolled out the service in Asia, while for Taxify, this will be its first rollout of motorbike taxi ordering service.
The motorbike taxi market is huge in Africa
The expansion of Uber and Taxify is well informed by the fact that in Africa more people use motorbike taxis than motorcar taxis. That is because the latter is more flexible to the terrain; it can go to places without good road infrastructure and come in handy when you want to beat the traffic. Plus, they are more affordable as they use significantly less fuel per mileage compared to a car.
The motorbike taxis market is huge in Africa, and the move by Uber and Taxify to digitize will be well received by commuters. Though for the record, Mondo had already rolled out motorbike taxi hailing service, which has been in the running for over two years now.
“We noticed there was a need for this service because boda boda’s haven’t been well organized or regulated,” said Chisom Anoke, the head of operations of Taxify Kenya.
“The other thing was people had to go search for boda bodas. We want to bring the convenience we brought to regular taxis to the boda bodas.”
Already, Taxify app has integrated the ‘Boda’ button for users who want to hail a boda ride. The company is now working on bringing its average boda ETAs in Nairobi to less than four minutes; the current average for its car services.
Taxify boda rates will be Ksh. 30 as base fare and Ksh.15 per kilometer ($0.30 and $0.15); the car taxi is Ksh. 85 base far and Ksh. 30 per kilometer ($0.80 and $0.30). Taxify will cut 15% as its commission.
As far as enlisting riders go, Taxify has placed the minimum requirement for the riders. They must have a license from Kenya’s National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and have at least three years’ experience. The riders must also have a motorbike that is not older than four years and pass its (Taxify’s) inspection.
The riders will also need additional accessories such as headphones and smartphones to help them to navigate Google maps (and other map apps) hands-free. They will also need to have two yellow helmets and reflective jackets at all times.
Uber app in Uganda will include uberBoda request button. Riders must have a motorbike that has passed inspection and a valid taxi license. They will also have two helmets and reflective jackets.