The business environment is a combination of internal and external factors that influence a company’s operating situation. The business environment can include factors such as: clients and suppliers; its competition and owners; improvements in technology; laws and government activities; and market, social and economic trends. The boda-boda taxis are part of the African bicycle culture; they started in the 1960s and 1970s and are still spreading from their origin on the Kenyan – Ugandan border to other regions.
The name originated from a need to transport people across the “no-mans-land” between the border posts without the paperwork involved with using motor vehicles crossing the international border.
This started in the southern border crossing town of Busia (Kenya/Uganda), where there is over half a mile between the gates, and quickly spread to the northern border town of Malaba (Kenya). Boda boda operate where more conventional services are uneconomic or physically impossible. They are found in urban and rural areas where they act primarily as feeder services to the towns or major public transport routes.
Because of their limited capacity travel costs per km are 2-7 times those of large capacity buses, but cheaper than sole hire taxis. Their popularity derives from the convenience they offer and ability to meet demands that other services cannot. Whilst the poorest make only occasional use of boda boda, due to low income and high cost constraints, for many they provide identifiable ways of enhancing income by extending the range and intensity of productive activities. Their greatest impact on the poor is through the employment provided.
Operators are drawn mostly from the least educated classes and each is shown to support an average of 6 dependents including themselves. Majority of boda boda users are drawn mainly from workers of the business community and students. Many boda boda operators are usually individuals with low education levels and most of them are from the rural areas. Furthermore, operation of the boda boda services is an exclusively male preserve. It’s very difficult for the government to control the boda boda industry, however, despite the best efforts of their associations boda boda operators have a poor profile among users.
How the business is put together. Majority of boda boda users are drawn mainly from workers of the business community and students. Many boda boda operators are usually individuals with low education levels and most of them are from the rural areas. It has been proved that it’s very difficult for the government to control the boda boda industry. However, some operational discipline is provided by the associations, to which the majority of boda boda operators belong, although most have only a local jurisdiction.
The association acts as their mouthpiece, represents them in cases of harassment by security personnel, traces members in cases of theft, or their relatives if there is an accident, and through their ‘stage committees’ enforce discipline and hygiene through fines, suspension of membership and the right to operate, and other sanctions. Some have also tried to ensure that members wear a uniform, helmets and ride with proper shoes – slippers are not allowed – and have trained educators for some of these purposes. Organizational Culture How the company does its business through shared beliefs, expectations and values.
Operation of the boda boda services is an exclusively male preserve. The strenuous nature of the occupation perhaps justifies this with bicycle-based services, but there is no clear reason why women should not operate motorcycles other than custom and culture, although the long working hours away from home must also be a deterrent. The harassment that operators complain of from some customers and their professed and very real fear of being robbed may be additional reasons that discourage women from operating such services. Read about disadvantages of riding a motorcycle
Organizational Resources. Human resources such as employees, Bicycles and motorbikes are the primary resources that boda boda operators have. Helmets and luminous jackets are among additional facilitating functions that help boda boda operators.
Primary Stakeholders 44% of motorcycle boda boda are operated by the owner. A further 14% of the motorcycles belong to the family, or a close relative of the boda boda operator. Men are more frequent users (60%) of boda boda services than women (40%). Secondary stakeholders Private cars, Taxis, Tuk Tuks and Matatus are the Boda boda’s main competitors.
Boda boda operate where more conventional services are uneconomic or physically impossible. They are found in urban and rural areas where they act primarily as feeder services to the towns or major public transport routes. Because of their limited capacity travel costs per km are 2-7 times those of large capacity buses, but cheaper than sole hire taxis.
Despite the best efforts of their associations both types of boda boda operators have a poor profile among users, although women (surprisingly) are more charitable, with 28% saying there were no problems.
Men complain of reckless, inexperienced driving and distain for traffic rules; dishonesty in overcharging, not having change and actively thieving; poor appearance and personal hygiene; and abusive and arrogant treatment of clients, and coarse behaviour towards women. There is a strong public perception of risk associated with their use either of accidents or disrupted journeys – due to mechanical breakdown or running out of fuel – and even outright connivance of the operators in robbery. Like many things in life, riding a boda boda has its pros and cons.
•Speed: A boda boda rider, enjoys certain immunity to traffic. The boda boda simply zips around, weaving around cars and potholes as idle automobile drivers enviously watch it speed by. If there is a “jam” and you need to be somewhere by a certain time, a boda boda really is your only option.
•Price: Boda bodas are very cost-efficient. In a hired car, that same ride would cost about four or five times as much.
And now, the cons:
•Your life may occasionally flash before your eyes while on the back of a boda boda. But every dark cloud has a silver lining, right?
The silver lining here is that the rider gets off of the boda boda with a newfound appreciation for life. Technological/ Economical forces The motorcycles vary in size from 50 to 250 cc engine capacity. Operators prefer the smaller sizes, mainly the 50cc Yamaha MATE model. The main reason seems to be cost and fuel economy. A 50cc motorcycle costs US$ 820. The annual licence fee is also charged at US$ 0. 085 per cc per 12 months (i. e. US$4. 27 for a 50cc motorcycle), so operating costs must be higher for the larger motorcycles. Such a small engine clearly limits the payload and range of operations.
This must be especially the case in the hilly rural areas that characterize the study corridor, but more evidence on this aspect is required.
It is clear that the boda boda industry has made a important and sole contribution to the conduct of economic and social activities by providing services in situations where the main option is to walk, which is slow. They offer service coverage in previously inaccessible rural and urban areas, and also enhance the abundance and effectiveness of more conventional transport services by feeding and distributing passengers to and from major stops.
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