Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The type of work boda riders should do

I pray that Uganda comes of age when commercial motor cyclists will be prohibited from carrying human beings. It is true that many people hire these motor cyclists but are unable to give them the instructions hence the boys end up riding dangerously and accidents become the norm. It is common experience to find a woman on one motor cycle with all the family (the children), and of late, the infants are put in front of the rider such that in case of an accident, chances are so high for the front child to be greatly injured and or die in the process. Politics a part, we cannot promote the commercial motorcyclists any more, as regarding moving people, instead we should see other safer means of travel evolve to replace the commercial motor cyclists as regards transporting people. It is absurd that some parents hire such motor cyclists to transport their child to and fro school a whole year and at times as many as three children. This matter ought to be addressed.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

Sunday, 15 August 2010 16:48

During school days, very early in the morning, there comes a boda boda operator to my Rubaga neighbourhood. It’s still dark when his reckless riding and hooting awakens every resident in this relatively calm neighbhourhood.
Three primary school pupils between six and 10 jump onto the boda boda while a smaller one sits in front of the cyclist. The cyclist then takes off at such break-neck speed, paying no particular attention to his passengers; his only concern is to deliver them to school as early as possible before he would start on his regular work.
I always worry about the pupils, wondering if they would get to school safely. But for the boda boda cyclist, things look safe with that helmet covering his head.
When I once asked their mother why she wouldn’t devise a better mode of transport, she simply responded that she couldn’t afford the high fares.
“My children go to a school a bit far away from this area, whose tuition fees I can afford. To enable them reach school in time, I negotiated with that boda boda man to take them every morning for a monthly payment of Shs 35,000,” she said.
The mother, is however, aware that a boda boda is a dangerous means of transport but she wouldn’t change it.
“Sincerely, do you expect me to use a special hire taxi for them? Such belong to another class of pupils, not mine. It’s good that my children are contented, know where they belong and are thus not complaining,” she said.
But not all pupils use a boda boda to school. In fact, a few enterprising individuals are tapping into another class of customers, the “A” class if you will, who can afford the luxuries of the mushrooming executive school shuttles.
One such service is offered by Elite Shuttles, whose routes are grouped into six major zones of Kampala. They transport children in seven-seater vehicles comprising Toyota Ipsum and Toyota Gala among others.
Dr Miriam Nanyunja, a director at Elite Shuttles says they conceived the idea to meet the needs of the working parents that face challenges dropping and picking children from school at unfriendly hours in the midst of the traffic jams.
“All our founders are parents who were perturbed seeing their children arriving home with injuries sustained on the way back home. Besides, we didn’t feel safe leaving our kids, especially girls, in the hands of the male school omnibus drivers,“ Nanyunja says.
Elite Shuttles chauffeurs are all women, who, according to the management, have a touch of motherhood and are ready to meet the children’s need while in transit. Fares are based on the distance between a pupil’s home and school, with discounts given to parents with two or more kids.
And once the children are on board, they are served with refreshments. Elsewhere, Metro Shuttles, who cover most of the posh schools around the city restrict their services to an 18km radius from the city centre.
They serve such schools as Aga Khan, Greenhill, Kampala Parents, Montessori, Lohana, City Parents, Kabojja Junior, Little Swans, King Fisher, Kinderkare, Daffodils and Spring Dales, among others.
“Our services free up parents’ time, fuel usage and the wear and tear of their personal vehicles.
“The parents of children we transport are free to call the ladies on the buses and speak to their children at any time if necessary,” an operator who identified himself as Patrick said.
Then there is Barnley Shuttles that charge parents an average of Shs 50,000 a week for transporting each child to and from school. Barnley covers areas around Ntinda, Kyanja, Bukoto, Buwate, Kulambiro, Kiwatule and Kisaasi.
“We use superb minibuses that carry an average of 16 children. Our rates are negotiable; we are a bit flexible and can revise them downwards if approached by friendly and nice talking parents,” Mohamed Yawe, a member of the management says.
As for Jaja Van, another service provider, they mainly serve pupils in Kampala and its suburbs of Najjeera, Ntinda, Kiwatule, Kisaasi, Kigowa, Naalya and Buwate but expect to expand their coverage when they acquire more vehicles later this year.


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