Barrett Nash: Innovations in East African motorcycle transport

Safe Motos is helping to give motorcycle taxis in East Africa a better reputation.

From the Series

Motorcycle transport is a fact of life in East Africa. The cities were built for far fewer people than they now have to host and rapid urbanisation is still causing a lot of change, especially in the continent’s capital cities. Terrible congestion is one of the problems caused by the increasing urban populations. Motorcycle taxis are fast and convenient and able to weave through the cars. However, the motorcycle taxi drivers have a reputation for being dangerous drivers and pickpockets.

Safe Motos, a start up based in Kigali, Rwanda, is trying to change this perception and make motorcycle taxis more safe for the riders.

The company was founded in 2014 by Canadian Barrett Nash and Peter Kariuki, who were approached by a startup accelerator in Ireland that focussed on innovative transport.

Though the model is influenced by Uber, Safe Motos doesn’t demand exclusivity from the drivers. They do demand that the drivers have minimum three years of experience and pass various tests.

The drivers are also monitored by the Safe Motos app, which tracks their speed and routes using GPS data.

According to Nash, Safe Motos is currently the most widely used moto-taxi ride sharing app on the continent of Africa.