Ricky Rapa Thomson is the co-founder and director of SafeBoda.
Boda bodas are motorbikes that are frequently seen throughout the streets of Uganda. As a life-long rider, Ricky started working in the field in 2011. Prior to his foray into entrepreneurship, Ricky worked as a security guard.
Despite having dropped out of school, he went on to found his first boda boda business in 2013, as the founder and managing director of Kampala Boda Boda City Tours.
However, later that year, a good friend of his died in a boda boda accident. This made Ricky realise the importance of safety in the then-informal industry.
“I witnessed things that any other person in the industry would have also seen,” he said in an interview with The Observer. “And among these things, was the loss of a very good friend in a boda boda related accident. He was someone I used to work with so closely, he used to help me make money, we used to do business, and once I lost him, I realised something needed to be done.”
SafeBoda riders receive extensive training in road safety, first aid, bike maintenance and customer care, making them among the safest and most professional riders in the country. While on the road, riders are identifiable and trackable through the SafeBoda platform, as well as equipped with hairnets and a spare helmet for customers.
“[We wanted] to bring a solution to the problems of [the] transport sector and make sure that everyone can commute from point A to B in a safe way,” he explained to Chimp Reports. “All we are doing is making life better.”
The company has also established the first motorcycle training industry in Africa.
“We want a motorcycle taxi academy to be in different parts of Uganda,” he explained. “For now, we are looking at five regions. It needs a lot of money, but we believe by setting up these boda boda academies, it will help to professionalise the industry.”
In 2017, Ricky received the Young Achievers Award for Business from Reach A Hand Uganda.Tags: Africa, safety, transport, Uganda
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