In Uganda there are three main ways to get around if you do not have your own transport – Special Hires – that in the rest of the world would be called taxis – in most cases you have to skillfully negotiate for the right price, then there are what we call Taxis here which are Toyota Mini-Buses (Matatus) in various states of disrepair and once again you might have to negotiate a bit on the price with the conductor. Then for the thrill seeker, there is the quickest way to get around in Kampala – the motorcycle taxi – the Boda Boda
Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxis offer quick, efficient, reasonably priced transport and they get you to your hotel, home, or a place you need to visit when all other traffic is at a standstill. They provide other needed services such as transporting Children to and from Schools. They take people to hospital, there are even Boda-Boda Ambulances providing much-needed services of taking a person to the hospital or a clinic to deliver a Baby.
Boda Boda are an efficient mode of transportation used by Ugandans and Visitors to Uganda Motorcycle taxis or boda bodas are present throughout Uganda and beyond East Africa, the term boda boda is specific to East Africa. The name Boda Boda originated from the small border town of Busia in Eastern Uganda. Small traders in this Kenya-Uganda frontier town (back in the late 1980’s to early 90’s), needed cheap transport to ferry goods (mainly cooking oil, soaps and other consumer goods from Kenya to Uganda and second hand clothes in the opposite direction). Motorbikes came in handy as cheap, convenient means for ferrying the business people and their wares from one border to the other, hence the name boda boda (border to border). Boda Boda had an apocryphal ability to transport people across a border without a need to complete the paperwork using a motor vehicle would necessitate; i.e. from border to border.
Statistics shows that Boda boda has been increasing in Kampala year per year, In 2013, about 300,000 Boda Bodas were operating in Kampala, Data from the Kampala Capital City Authority show 120,000 registered motorcycles in the city around the same year, although the number of Boda Boda could be higher as some are unregistered according to a representative of the Kampala Boda-Boda Riders Association The same source indicated in 2015 that around 40,000 were operating in central Kampala. Another knowledgeable source suggested in 2015 that the true figure is closer to double that number. Across Uganda riding Boda Bodas has become a substantial source of income for many youths, providing livelihood to thousands of families in the country
Companies operating Boda Boda Business in Kampala
Companies has decided to join the profitable Boda Boda business in Kampala, companies like Safe Boda, Uber and Taxify has decided also to jump in the trend of Boda Business. These companies for them they use mobile application apps, an Uber-style if you ever used Uber for motorcycle taxis, SafeBoda was founded in late 2014, and, as of 2015, restricted its operations to Kampala, Uganda. It provides training and helmets to drivers who access fares through its app
The smartphones carried by drivers can collect braking data allowing the firm to rank operators’ safety, and a routing system that relies more on landmarks than maps helps ensure only those who possess thorough local knowledge will attempt to pick up a potential fare.
Boda-Boda – Motorcycle provide Ugandans, Visitors and Expats with delivery services that people in the West do not have or wish they did. The pay bills for you, they deliver food, charcoal, sodas, drinking water, propane gas, fuel for your generator. My Boda-Boda Driver – Frank Kakande even goes to the Bank and skhops for me.
not for the faint of heart, there are risks involved in riding one and at the same time there are thrills. Part of the Bad Side to Boda-Bodas is that Boda Boda Taxi Drivers operate outside every traffic rule set down in Uganda – they pass on any side of the road, when vehicular traffic comes to standstill in the infamous Kampala jams they continue on to their riders destination, like the pony express of old in the USA – nothing stops a Boda-Boda Motorcycle Taxi – they dart in and out of the smallest spaces, sidewalks become roads, the smallest distance between cars is
There are Ugandan Traffic Laws and some laws that specifically address the Boda Boda Motorcycles such as the helmet law- each driver, and passenger is supposed to wear one, rarely do you see any helmets – passenger complain that they might get lice, an infection etc.
When good laws are put on the books, Boda-Boda motorcycle Taxi Drivers have the political muscle to change it – there are reportedly 200,000 boda-boda drivers paying a monthly fee of 20,000 shillings (6USD) to the Kampala Capital City Authorities – plus many in power or put own a number of Boda Boda Taxis all meaning, that unless someone gets serious about the bad side of Boda-Boda Taxi Business will continue.
How do I move around and about in Kampala Uganda?
A number of the most disorderly experiences in my life consist of: getting swindled by a man having a pistol within Guatemala City, being robbed at machete point within Kampala, battling an attacking group of dogs having a snorkel tube within Belize, as well as working out the Kampala-transportation system. I’ll be concentrating on the latter in this posting.
Although there are several very economical transportation possibilities available within Kampala it may be challenging working out which one is perfect for you. Actually Kampala is a rapidly expanding town center in East Africa where human population estimates are presently at 1.9 million and this is expected to improve almost 5 times. As a result, the road infrastructure presently in place is inadequate to meet the high transportation needs of the massive and rapidly growing population. In case you are traveling during rush-hour, you might end up being in traffic for several hours. Therefore obtaining familiarity with the different transportation possibilities, understanding the peak times of the traffic, and determining shortcuts is excellent knowledge to possess.
What is the best means of Transport while in Kampala Uganda?
Throughout your keep in Kampala you are certain to cherish Japan’s remarkable gift to this country, a large number of run-down white Toyota vans. These dastardly bits of machinery are locally referred to as “Matatu” a Kiswahili name that means “for three” that means the price in local shillings it goes for to travel across the roads in Kenya back in the 1950’s. On The Other Hand I think a much more liable translation could be “reckless abandon” since this is usually the model in which the vehicles are actually driven. In case you can ignore the chaotic driving behavior and crowded seating, Matatu’s are usually some of the most inexpensive of alternatives for making your way around town and cross Uganda.
To take a matatu into the city, simply climb onto the side of this street and wait for driver to raise his hand, stop, or honk at you. It feels uncomfortable at first however don’t get worried, you are an expat therefore everybody thinks you don’t know. Request the conductor (he is the guy who holds the money, leans out of the vehicle to get passengers as well as opens the door in case they are heading to the taxi park. If that’s the case, jump in. You will pass your taxi fare to him close to the park. Look at your change.
To get a matatu from town, you will have to take a very deep breath before going to the taxi park. There are 2 taxi parks, the old and new (this is under construction). At first look, these parks will feel terrifyingly chaotic and simply the idea of stepping into them could make you wish to hyperventilate. Be assured, they are truly very organized. You will find small signs which all the taxi’s group under, look for the sign of the area you are going, move straight to it, and begin asking people nearby where the taxi to your place is. You’ll be lead into a taxi, when you are in, ask confirm with the other people within the taxi whether it is going to your destination. When they say no, move out and start all over with the earlier procedure. However If yes, then good! Now what you need to do is simply sit and wait until the taxi fills up with people.
Matatu or taxi park tips: It’s not all that the taxis to the various destinations can be found in these two parks, ensure that you are at the correct place. In case you are in a matatu all on your own for over a couple of minutes, leave and get another heading to the very same place with some people in it. The Matatus will seriously hit you but soon or later you will finally reach your destination.