Ugandan bike-hailing service SafeBoda goes green with new electric option

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April 17, 2024
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2 min read
Two SafeBoda riders sitting on their bikes

The news: 

  • SafeBoda, a Ugandan bike-hailing platform, has announced the launch of electric motorcycle (“Eletric Boda”) option on its app, expanding its existing offerings.  
  • The mobility startup unveiled the new service in a post on X on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. 
  • The new development marks a significant step towards a greener future for the motorcycle-sharing app, and it’s expected to lay the groundwork for gearing up the country’s transportation ecosystem towards providing a more sustainable and eco-friendly commuting experience.

In urban areas in Uganda, motorcycles — known as boda boda in Uganda — are a major mode of commuting as they offer residents an affordable and convenient mode of transportation. 

But before now, they ran on gasoline engines, further adding to the noise and air pollution levels in Ugandan cities. 

With the introduction of new bikes with electric engines, SafeBoda  hopes to provide the same familiar boda boda experience while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

SafeBoda ’s addition of electric bodas will avail drivers, riders, and Uganda numerous benefits. Besides reducing air pollution in the citties and ensuring quieter rides, the Electric Boda option has the potential to also lower maintenance costs for the company, and by extension, cheaper transportation for riders. 

Also, the ride efficiency is expected to improve, allowing for a much smoother experience for Ugandans. The move could also prove the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

That said, the implementation of this new service won’t be without its challenges. 

If electric buses are to be widely adopted in Uganda, they will require extensive charging infrastructure. It’s unclear how the company intends to overcome this potential roadblock for its drivers.  

Given the country's reliance on gasoline-powered motorcycles, electric bodas may need help to obtain adequately trained technicians and spare parts for maintenance. 

Three years after exiting Kenya, SafeBoda  announced that it would return to the country’s  capital. The company stopped operations in November 2020, citing an unsustainable business environment following the pandemic after entering the country in 2018, leaving more than 4,000 SafeBoda  drivers.  

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Later in December 2020, SafeBoda  also exited Nigeria with plan to shift its focus enhancing profitability and product expansion in Uganda, nine months after it kicked off operations.


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