'Boda Boda' bicycle taxis and their role in urban transport systems: case studies of Kisumu and Nakura, Kenya
Mutiso, W.; Behrens, Roger; Southern African Transport Conference (30th : 2011 : Pretoria, South Africa); Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (TRB); Minister of Transport, South Africa
Paper presented at the 30th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 11-14 July 2011 "Africa on the Move", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Thls paper reports upon an investigation into the role played by boda boda in urban
transport systems in Kisumu and Nakuru (Kenya). A boda boda is a bicycle taxi which
provides 'for hire' type transport services for passengers and goods. The research
examined the operating characteristics of, and challenges facing, bicycle taxi services, and explored the measures that might be formulated by the concerned authorities to manage and support them. The study involved a (n=500) survey of bicycle taxi operators, as well as interviews with local authority officials. The study found that bicycle taxis serve an identifiable niche market, in the form of short service trips largely for the purposes of
accessing work activities (directly, or as a feeder within a multi-mode trip), and off-road
trips in high density unplanned settlements where hlgher capacity vehicles cannot pass
Their ability to pass slow-moving or stopped motor vehicles, enable them to operate
efficiently and competitively in congested networks. It is argued that bicycle taxis have a
place in Kenyan urban transport systems, and thelr absence would leave service gaps.
Recent increase in motorcycle boda boda operations, at the expense of bicycle boda boda market share, is a cause for concern, and it is recommended that the concerned
authorities adopt a policy position in this regard It is argued that bicycle boda boda
operations should be facilitated and supported by the relevant public authorities. The
paper concludes with recommendations on measures that authorities mlght adopt to better regulate and support bicycle taxis. These relate to bicycle lane construction, the
promulgation of enforcement by-laws, third party insurance cover, operator association
membership, and the need for a harmonised national non-motorised transport policy.
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