Rwanda : A day in the life of a Taxi-Moto rider

Rwanda A motor rider

A motor rider

Riding on a motorcycle as a means of transport in Kigali has become part of many dwellers of this beautiful and hilly city.

A darling to those who cannot often afford a ride in a cab, the Taxi Moto or Boda Boda, as it is widely known in East Africa is preferred for its ability to beat the rush hour traffic jam, though on the other hand,  its speed and traffic beating tactics are another reason why many shun the ride from the hard working fellows.

I caught up with one of the street hardened boda boda cyclists who gave us a glimpse into his daily life as one of these people in whose hands most of us entrust our precious lives on the roads.

Innocent Guruna whose permanent area of operation is around the areas of Remera, Kimironko and Kabeza says that his day begins at 5 am in the Morning.

“The first thing I do when I wake up is to pray to the almighty God because I am a Christian.  I pray so that he can protect me throughout the day due to the risky kind of business I do,” says Guruna who originally hails from the Southern Province in Huye district.

He says that when he hits the road, he immediately begins ferrying passengers especially those ones who begin their work so early.

“The early risers are mostly dominated by traders going to different markets to set up their businesses, but we also have those who work in offices that are required to report so early,” he says.

Most motorcyclists like the early morning shift because business is most times good given that at that hour few taxis are on the road.

The 25 years old father of one says that he normally pauses from the morning shift to have breakfast at 9am at his home.

The break takes only thirty minutes and he hits the road again. It is at this hour that I jumped on his motorbike to try and talk him into having an interview with me.

The seemingly jolly young man says that on a good a day he will make between Rwf10, 000 and Rwf12, 000 while on a bad one he can go home with about Rwf6, 000. On this amount he is expected to remit Rwf4, 000 to the owner of the motorbike on a daily basis without fail.

“Sometimes it becomes difficult to sustain a family of four like the one I have in an expensive city like Kigali, but I try to balance well and save some money which helps me on such bad days.

Sitting down to give me more glimpse into the life of a regular boda boda rider, Guruna tells me that the biggest challenge they face in this business is the when they are caught committing a traffic offense.

“That is the worst day of any boda boda taxi man. It can drain all your savings and leave you completely down and yet that can’t be an excuse to your boss who wants his account debited on a daily basis.”

Other challenges he says include attempted robberies during the night shifts and drunken passengers who will at times refuse to pay. But he says that such incidences are so rare due to the availability of security personnel in most parts of Kigali.

The young man who intimated that he was wooed into the transport industry by his love for the motorbike, says that he enjoys the rides on top of making a living out of it.

According to Gurunas, the boda boda business is slowly becoming less profitable due to the influx of many people into the trade.

“I am planning that I will one day leave this business because I can no longer benefit from it like I used to three years ago when I first entered it.”

He says that he is working at learning how to drive a car so that he can someday graduate to driving cabs which to him seems a bit more profitable.

When asked how people perceive the boda boda riders, he says that they are perceived with mixed perceptions.

“Just like in any other business, we also have bad and good guys. So people have mixed opinions about our work. Those who have met the bad guys will generalize that we are all bad.  But I believe that the biggest number of Bodaboda riders in Kigali are law abiding citizens,” he concludes.






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