Uganda-based ride-hailing and delivery firm SafeBoda has announced it will be transitioning from being solely a motorcycle-hailing operator to offering both bike rides and car-hailing services upon its resumption of operations in the Kenyan market starting Thursday.
The announcement, which was made on the company’s official X (formerly Twitter) account, sets the stage for intensified competition with other sector players that include Uber, Bolt, Jim Cab and Little Cab.
“Nairobi are you ready for SafeBoda with SafeCar? Yes, you heard us right. We are bringing SafeCar to Nairobi soon,” wrote the firm in the post.
The disclosure comes just days after SafeBoda announced that it would be resuming operations in Kenya, ending a three-year hiatus that commenced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in November 2020.
At the time, the firm had taken a major hit after the pandemic grounded transport operations due to movement restrictions that included long months of a dust-to-dawn curfew.
“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,” SafeBoda had said at the time.
At the time of closure, the company had a network of more than 4,000 boda boda riders having first launched in Nairobi in 2018 and riding on cheap rates to woo customers and expand its market share.
The firm would later shut down its operations in Nigeria in December 2022 to focus solely on the Ugandan market, mentioning at the time that bike-hailing in the West African country was not economically viable.
It remains unclear whether it will re-open activities in Nigeria as it had done in Kenya.
Since its departure from Kenya, the e-mobility sector in the country has grown, with a section of industry players embracing electric-powered cars and bikes as part of their fleet.
The Ugandan entity will thus have its work cut out to wrestle market share from newly grown firms, even as it braces to confront freshly introduced operational pain points such as accelerated taxation.