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Tracking firm eyes boda boda millions

 Motorcycles have become a popular mode of public transport both in rural and urban areas. FILE
Motorcycles have become a popular mode of public transport both in rural and urban areas. FILE 

Increased cases of motorcycle theft have opened a business opportunity for Strack Kenya, a vehicle tracking company that is targeting thousands of people who use them for public transport.

It will cost a motorcycle owner Sh5,000 to fit the GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking device, the general manager for Strack Kenya, Judith Pavel, said while revealing that the firm is targeting thousands of boda boda operators predominant in all urban centres across Kenya.

The rise in use of motorcycles for public transport has raised annual sales from 16,293 in 2007 to 125,058 last year, but has also seen a surge in theft, some of which are later or used in committing robberies.

“We are targeting large numbers. The purchase of the motorcycle tracker is a one-time cost and doesn’t come with the recurring service charges typically associated with tracking companies in the country,” said Ms Pavel.

A customer base of even 50,000 motorcycle owners could earn Strack Kenya Sh250 million.

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Motorcycles have become a popular mode of public transport both in rural and urban areas due to their ability to beat traffic jams and to traverse areas that would otherwise be non-accessible by vehicles.

New motorcycle registrations jumped 33 per cent last year compared to the 2012 sales of 93,970 units, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Increased cases of theft and robberies committed saw Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo recently attempt to ban boda bodas at night.

Strack Kenya says that besides boda boda operators, the company will also target saccos, individuals and companies that use motorcycles for transportation.

The retail cost of a basic motorcycle currently ranges between Sh70,000 and Sh100,000, but rises depending on the model. Manufacturers have recently started local assembly of bikes to capitalise on the growing market.

Most bikes sold locally are currently imported from China.

Honda Motor Company last year set up a local subsidiary to assemble motorcycles in Nairobi, with an initial production capacity of 25,000 units per year.

Car & General also started local assembly of motorcycles in Kenya in July 2013 when it unveiled an assembly plant in Nakuru.

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