A Safeboda rider pictured in branded gear
A Safeboda rider pictured in branded gear

Boda boda ride hailing service SafeBoda on Monday, November 16 announced that it was temporarily halting operations in Kenya from Friday, November 27.

In a statement, the company noted that the boda boda sector had been badly hit by the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic causing them to ‘pause’ ride and delivery services.

“While Nairobi is seeing some economic recovery from Covid-19, boda transportation has been hit hard. This has meant our business cannot sustainably operate in this environment and unfortunately the timeline for a full recovery is not certain.

“The decision is a hard one for SafeBoda to make. We know that this will negatively impact our community of riders,” the company noted.

It left customers with funds in their SafeBoda wallets scrambling for answers as to what would happen next. Speaking to Business Today, a representative for the company shed more light on the situation.

Safeboda riders pose with their smartphones

The company is encouraging customers to spend unused credits on rides and deliveries by November 27.

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Those who fail to do so will, however, have their wallet balances refunded via mobile money.

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“Those who are unable to (spend credits by November 27) will have their monies sent to them via mobile money by the end of the day on November 27, regardless of the amount.

“Those who want refunds before we pause operations can also call our customer care lines and we will help them get the funds,” a representative for SafeBoda disclosed.

The company will, however, maintain its operations in Uganda and Nigeria.

It launched operations in Kenya in Nairobi in 2018 and quickly proved popular with city dwellers. The company ran a glitzy social media campaign in the country, recruiting popular influencers on different platforms.

SafeBoda has over 4,000 riders in its network in Kenya and expanded beyond its initial offering of affordable, on-demand boda boda rides to food and packages delivery.

Although riders typically sign up to multiple apps, the situation is sure to affect their incomes as SafeBoda had established itself as the most popular boda ride hailing platform in the country.

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About the Author

Martin Siele is a senior reporter at Business Today.

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