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Rwanda’s ICT start-up making safer motorbike taxi through app  

By Frank Kanyesigye KIGALI (Xinhua) -- Motorbike taxi has gradually become a business hotspot in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali, but is prone to traffic accidents due to errant motorists.

Recognizing the need to address the rampant taxi motorbike accidents and making safer and convenient transportation in Kigali, two young technology entrepreneurs—Peter Kariuki, a Kenyan, and Barrett Nash, a Canadian, founded SafeMotos, an online motorcycle taxi platform that connects riders and passengers via the company’s mobile application.

Launched in Rwanda in 2015 after participating in an international start-up accelerator, SafeMotos was conceived as an Uber for African motorcycle taxis that connect riders and passengers via the company’s mobile application. Currently, the start-up has more than 3,000 riders who register in its system.

“The main purpose of coming up with SafeMotos was to increase the safety of taxi motorbike rides while providing more convenient and cost effective transportation to users. A core aspect of the company’s service is providing safer transportation,” Eric Joseph, Project Manager at SafeMotos told Xinhua in an interview.

“SafeMotos is an application that relies on telematic data or sensor readings collected from motorcycle riders’ smartphones to monitor their driving habits from average speed to how hard and faster they brake,” Joseph said.

SafeMotos rates the safety level of riders through the data analyzed remotely combined with passenger’s feedback, he said. If a rider was rated below 90 percent, he has to receive sensitization training on qualities of a motorbike taxi rider before he can resume picking up passengers through the application, Joseph explained.

He said that a rider will be removed from the SafeMotos system if he refuses to undergo training.

Apart from safety of the motorbike rides, the start-up has impacted riders economically because they are able to get more customers.

“Safemotos has improved our motorcycle taxi operations. I am able to generate at least 15, 000 Rwandan francs (about 17 U.S. dollars) a day. Before joining Safemotos, on average I was getting 8,000 Rwandan francs (about 9 dollars) daily,” said Emmanuel Habimana, one of the motorists using the Safemotos application to get passengers.

He said that getting clients is very easy since he waits for customers’ order via his smartphone without moving around the city looking for passengers. 

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