Kampala, Uganda | URN | While launching its services, SafeBoda, a mobile based boda boda service provider promoted the cashless option. This option allows the client to pay for a ride using money from their mobile wallet.
The money is topped from the client’s mobile money account to the mobile wallet on the SafeBoda app, which can also be used to buy airtime.
However, the cashless option is fast becoming a thing of the past, as most SafeBoda riders insist on cash payment. A number of SafeBoda clients interviewed by this publication, say whenever they order for a ride, the riders ask them whether they have cash before they show up. The riders cancel clients who would prefer using the cashless option.
According to SafeBoda, the cashless was initially created to help the riders save unlike when they get cash in their hands.
Clients too would benefit from the cashless transaction because of the promotional offers and saving time wasted searching for change. Maureen Aguti, a regular SafeBoda user says that at times, it is a necessary option when one is out of cash. She however says that to her dismay, the riders lash at her for using the cashless option.
Daniel Wambi, another regular SafeBoda user says that he gave up on the cashless option after being abused by a rider for using the system. “After the ride, I walked away telling the guy it was cashless payment. The guy retaliated with abusive words,” he said.
Ngobi Sinyalo, a SafeBoda rider reasons that some SafeBoda riders avoid using the cashless option because they have debts on their accounts with the company. Any amount of money loaded onto their wallet would be deducted to clear the debt.
Denis Kiiza, another rider who is utterly dismissive of the cashless payment system says that it is not profitable for them especially on long distances as cash would be.
He says that one receiving Shillings 10,000 in cash would have it as a whole, other than those using the cashless option who would get Shillings 8,500 after deductions. However, a few SafeBoda riders like Musa Kakooza still use the cashless option claiming that despite the profit difference between the cashless and cash options, there are benefits such as quick and convenient topping up of airtime to call clients in addition to buying fuel at subsidized costs off the wallet.
Ricky Rapa-Thompson, the SafeBoda co-founder says that this came after the lockdown which affected many of their riders financially.
“One of the things our population is underestimating is the effect of COVID-19. Our riders have got into a difficult situation where they have loans they acquired before in form of bike loans, school fees and insurance. However, the income as of today dropped from Shs 50,000 per day to Shs 27,000. Therefore, riders are forced to work to earn to serve their immediate needs with cash which gives a little more profit,” Ricky notes.
However, he also adds that as a company, they are urging the government to once again open up the business as it was for such gaps to be closed. SafeBoda is one of the fast-growing start-up businesses in the boda-boda transport service that brought innovation to the growing motorcycle taxi industry in Uganda and Africa.
The community of riders use mobile phone technology to bring services to the people where one makes an order for the ride, right on their handsets.