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Kenyon College

Publication Date

Fall 2014

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


In Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, the closest mode of transport to mass transit that citizens have access to is the 14-seater taxis which fill the streets of Kampala, create traffic jams, and are unable to fulfill the transportation needs of the city’s growing population. In response, motorcycle taxis, called Boda Bodas, which are able to navigate traffic jams, access remote locations where taxis don’t go, and deliver passengers to their destinations in a timely manner, filled the gap in public transportation. Unfortunately, while many riders have organized themselves in associations, the industry remains largely unregulated by the Kampala Capital City Authority which has resulted in safety issues for riders and passengers.

It was the aim of this study to learn more about the informal transportation market of Boda Bodas and to examine the outcomes of the organizational structures that riders have created through a case study of Boda Boda Association 2010’s Central Division. In addition, the study sought to better understand the challenges associated with Kampala city officials’ efforts to regulate Boda Bodas and to explore the ways in which Boda Bodas can provide additional services and benefits to their communities. Data collection was accomplished through the use of survey questionnaires, focus group discussions, participant observation, and key informant interviews. Once collected, the data was analyzed using methods including transcription, coding, basic statistics, and thick description.

Following the data collection period, the study concluded that Boda Bodas are a sort of double-edge sword as they currently stand: they are a necessity as they currently fill a gap in public transport and fulfill an abundance of other roles within their communities, but they do so at a high risk to riders, passengers, and other road users. While their role in urban transport may become more peripheral with the introduction of mass transit systems, the riders will undoubtedly continue to be essential in more remote communities and their services will still be used. However, as that transition is being made, local government needs to ensure that they are providing necessary infrastructure, medical, and training services to the riders so that the Boda industry can operate in as safe a manner as possible and the potential benefits of the industry can be fully realized within Kampala’s transportation system.


Civic and Community Engagement | Growth and Development | Transportation | Urban Studies


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