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‘Boda Boda’s Done Right Could Be An
Important Carriage System For Kenya

Coastweek -- In terms of getting solutions to the boda boda menace that is developing in Kenya, one need not go too far, writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.

 It could be easy enough to apply the Michuki Rules since some of the bones that one would need to make them work are already in place.

The riders need to be reined in and put into organisations that can be held accountable for their behaviour.

In order to get some semblance of normality to the boda boda trade, it is necessary to take some probably disruptive actions that will in the long term result into a more orderly transportation mode that is safe and can be trusted.

The first thing to be done is to get a reputable central testing agency to retest ALL the existing licensed riders to a high level of competence and also on defensive driving techniques.

If they fail then they have to go through certified training – free of charge-and then get retested in order to retain their license.

If they fail a second time then they will be disqualified from driving.

Once the riders pass their test they should be issued with the new (promised) electronic chip licenses where infringements can be recorded by the cops.

The punishments for non conformance when operating or causing accidents or not driving according to the Traffic Act and Highway Code should be elevated to double what they are now to really make it onerous to have an accident or to not follow the rules.

The next thing that should be done, which is in accordance to the Michuki Rules, is to ensure that all the riders belong to a SACCO (or Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations).

These SACCOs will be held jointly accountable for the behaviour of all the riders who are members of that organisation.

The enforcement agencies should have a graduated way of punishing the members depending on the magnitude of the offence and also on the number of offences by the members of the SACCO.

This way all riders will be stopped from riding for a given period of time as a collective punishment for the misdemeanours of its members.

The SACCO will be given all the data in real time about the behaviour of their members so that they can use that information in corrective as well as preventive training of its members.

The way they behave and analysis of the accidents can be used in sessions of all the members of the SACCO either in small focus groups or in general session – especially when the organisation is close to being suspended from operation.

The other requirement is for the riders belonging to a particular organisation will be dressed in uniform that can identify then easily. The reflective bibs that they wear should also have information about which SACCO they belong to as well as the name of the rider.

This will help everyone quickly and positively identify the rider who is involved in any misdemeanour.

It would also be good if the bikes that the riders use are also identified by colour as to which SACCO they belong.

This is in addition to the fact that the same information can be held on line alongside the registration number.

Each bike should have an RFID number - which the NTSA is already introducing – which can aid in remote identification of the bike in case the riders are trying to hide by changing number plates.

The enforcement agencies should carry out the cleansing exercise over a period of say two years in which the registration, training of all the riders to the desired standard is achieved.

The SACCOs should also have a common rider management system that is linked into the enforcement agency so that they can work together in making the business safer and gain respect.

If they do this, in several years they will become kosher and a good income earning proposal for our youth in Kenya.

As Kachumbari says, boda bodas done right could be an important carriage system for Kenya.

 

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