Pareto Efficient

In search of pareto improvements

Posts Tagged ‘boda bodas

Day #3: Walk to Town

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Side note: I woke up and realized something — I love Uganda.

Today I’m trying to setup meetings with MFIs and loan recipients…must find working internet in town.

So far I’ve been using taxis and boda bodas to get around. Today I’ve decided to go local, keep it real and walk Jinja Road into Kampala today.  Its only 5 kilometers — that’s nothing.

Its a great walk.  I’m eating dirt and diesel fumes.  Boda drivers are hammering me to take them into town, they don’t believe I’m walking there…I guess muzungu (white people) don’t usually walk.

On foot, its much easier to connect with the many people that line the busy streets.  I stopped to talk with some skilled metal/wood workers on the corner near my place (below).

Metal Shop in Kampala

Metal shop in Kampala

They were on the ball, but living in extreme poverty (behind the shop).  None of them have ever taken micro-finance loans.  I recommended that they explore that option to grow their business.

A little farther up the road I decided to heed friendly advice and avoid the tap water in Kampala.  Might be hard to see in the picture below, but the water has a ton of trash in it…

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

Shortly thereafter, I came across a hoof (below).  Would’ve eaten it, but the ants already had it.  Dang.

Anybody's goat loose a hoof?  Ah, random hoof here...

Ah, I think somebody's goat lost a hoof. Anybody?

My walk took me right by the Ministry of Elections for Uganda.  Interestingly, President Museveni, who took power through the millitary 22 years ago, has changed the constitution to afford himself extra terms in office.  The signs below show his deep commitment to the democratic process.

Daaaa, ummm...yup.  We don't count good...

Daaaa, ummm...yup. We don't count good...

...and ensure Mr. Museveni always wins.


Report the dead...I knew I forgot something.

Bicycle bodas were prevalent — and loaded with impossibly large loads (below).

Sugarcane delivery

Sugarcane delivery

No, no.  I can take two, watch me...

"Fuel-tanker vs. fuel-biker"

No, seriously.  I can take 4

"What's that? Four bunches? No problem."

At Garden City mall, I saw the guy (below) with this huge bag of bottles on his back…

Wow, that's amazing...

That's impressive. How far is he carrying that bag?

Wait, that's not right.  What?

Um. Wait...that's not good. Seriously?

Fortunately, I found a Coke dealer just before the shakes and cold sweats started up again.

Sweet elixuir of life

Ah, sweet elixir of life

Today was really fun.  The people are unbelievably kind.  I really like it here, and there are so many ways to help.  Gotta figure out the angles and get something going over here to help these guys…

Unfortunately, after a 2 hour walking adventure and a whole day of searching, I unable to locate suitable internet.  Guess I’ll try again tomorrow.


Written by thetyson

October 10, 2008 at 8:23 am

Branded Boda Idea

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Problem:  Imperfect information about boda drivers (motorcycle taxis) leads to unsafe free-for-all

  • Many bodas drive unsafely and without helmets
  • Many do not know their way around town
  • > 90% actually rent their motorcycle from a local owner and see their earnings impacted accordingly
  • The influx of many new bodas threatens to squeeze margins for the drivers
  • There are no branded fleets of boda drivers — its a wild west…

Solution: Leverage branding, scale and economic incentives to improve driver safety/earnings

Driver Safety:

  • Provide clearly branded well maintained bodas to drivers
  • Provide road/accident safety training to all drivers
  • Provide helmets and day-glow vests for driver/passenger
  • Require drivers to know the major districts, connecting roads, and typical tourist stops
  • Require drivers to speak basic English

Driver Earnings:

  • Revenues: Hopes that branding will cause drivers to stand out in the crowd, and get more fares.
  • Costs: Over time, the drivers will pay less to rent the bodas

Back of the Envelope:

  • There are over 200,000 boda drivers in Uganda
  • 1,000 drivers paying the market rent would be $1.7MM USD/year in revenues (2.8bn Ush)
  • As the bikes are paid off, the cost structure of the business will decrease, which we can pass on to the drivers in the form of lower rental costs.
  • Increased driver earnings will increase the quality of their lives.

Written by thetyson

October 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm