- SafeBoda expanded to Nairobi in 2018 after their official in Uganda.
- "And we said we are leaving Nairobi? Ah, mistakes are ours," SafeBoda Kenya.
- Unforeseen challenges prompted SafeBoda's exit in Kenya in 2020.
In June 2018, SafeBoda marked its entry into the Kenyan market, specifically in Nairobi, expanding its successful motorcycle taxi-hailing platform from Uganda. The move followed the platform’s founding in November 2014 and initial triumphs in Uganda, sparking hopes of a prosperous journey in Kenya.
However, the optimism was short-lived, as the ride-hailing motorcycle firm surprisingly announced its exit from the Kenyan market in July 2020, just over two years after its launch. The company is gearing up for a comeback, signaling a potential resurgence in the Kenyan capital.
SafeBoda’s initial foray into the Kenyan market seemed promising, with rapid user adoption in Nairobi leading to an expansion into Mombasa in May 2019. However, unforeseen challenges prompted the company’s exit in 2020. Fast forward to the present, and all signs point to a SafeBoda relaunch in Nairobi.
Several factors played a role in SafeBoda’s decision to exit Kenya initially:
- Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the transportation industry globally. SafeBoda, too, felt the repercussions as the reduced demand for taxi rides made it challenging to operate profitably.
- High Competition
Uber and BoltBoda, already established players in the Kenyan market, posed formidable competition. SafeBoda struggled to gain significant market share against these well-entrenched rivals.
- Scaling Challenges
Expanding operations and maintaining a robust driver network in the diverse Kenyan market proved more complex than anticipated.
With the transportation landscape evolving and the effects of the pandemic subsiding, SafeBoda sees an opportune moment for a return to Nairobi.
What we know so far
The official SafeBoda Kenya X (formerly Twitter) handle has dropped a hint that caught the attention of many. Quoting the announcement of their exit from Nairobi, the post read, “Na tulisema tunaondoka Nairobi? Ah makosa ni yetu!” — which translates to “And we said we are leaving Nairobi? Ah, mistakes are ours!” This cryptic message sparked speculation about an imminent return.
Adding to the intrigue, SafeBoda (Uganda) posted a teaser around the same time, stating, “𝑾𝙚 𝙝𝒂𝙫𝒆 𝒂𝙣 𝙚𝒙𝙘𝒊𝙩𝒊𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙬𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙤𝙤𝙣! Any guesses?” Despite the teasing, no concrete details about the comeback were disclosed.
A visit to the SafeBoda website, however, unveils a countdown page with a clear message: “SafeBoda is coming to Nairobi! SafeBoda is the best way to move around the city with safe, convenient, and affordable rides. Join us and experience the SafeBoda difference.”