I’ll be honest. Getting around Kampala these days is a little intimidating for a lot of people. Growing up in a country where so many people use public means of transport left many of us with little preparation for navigating the mean streets on own. However, the times have changed (and a few tables too) and now the traffic is heavy. Consequently, reaching your destination in time using a taxi requires a bit of prayer. So how do you get to your destination fast? Well, hail a Boda Boda online.
My first attempt at hailing a boda boda was a complete failure. I stood at the road side, saw one of the Safe Bodas headed my way, and lifted my hand, the usual way. I soon discovered that it doesn’t work that way in these realms. Hailing a Boda Boda is all simple, but fraught with a few complexities for the uninitiated. So below I’ll give you a quick rundown on how to hail a Boda boda and a short primer on some basic ride hailing etiquette.
How to hail a Boda Boda.
Install an app.
To hail any ride a boda online, you will need a mobile application installed on your device (of course). There are over four Boda hailing services available in Uganda currently. The most common ones include SafeBoda, Taxify Boda, Uber Boda and most recently Dial Jack. Uber and Taxify joined the two-wheel race a few months back, creating competition with SafeBoda.
All the above services have Mobile applications that can be installed and used by customers.
Create an account.
After successfully installing the application, you now need to create an account. Signing up for these services is technically as easy as you would sign up for any other service. In most cases, signing up requires an active Mobile number to receive activation code.
Fill in a few mandatory details about you as asked by the application. Creating an account requires about 5 minutes on any of the above services.
Choose where you are going.
Now that you have an account, you can begin hailing rides right away. First, you need to choose where you are going. It’s advisable to use recognizable names of streets, roads or buildings instead of putting ambiguous destination. Imagine putting a destination such as Kampala. Kampala covers a wide area and consequently, the drop off point is not clear to the rider.
Choose a Pick Up point.
Depending on the service you decide to use, some automatically detect your location and mark it as the pick up point. However, the application may sometimes choose a place which id a few blocks from your location. Consequently, you need to input your exact location manually. Just like when choosing your drop off point, you need to punch in a more exact pick up area to nullify confusion.
Choose a payment mode.
Different services have different modes of payment. For example, if you use Dial Jack, you can be able to pay using Cash, Airtel Money or MTN Mobile Money. Safe Boda allows you to pay using cash or credits. So, choose a mode that is convenient to you and then hail away.
Request the ride.
After choosing a pick up and destination point, the App will show you an estimated charge for the journey. Please note that the final cost of the ride is a combination of parameters like traffic, waiting time, and much more. However, the estimated charge helps you get an insight of what the final price might be.
Now you need to hail the ride. If you are using Safeboda or Dial Jack, hailing a boda is straight forward, sort of. This is because these two only offer Boda Boda services. However, when using UberBoda or Taxify, you need to choose between the Boda service or Car service because these two offer both.
After requesting for the Boda, the app will begin searching the nearest rider to your location. This takes an average of 2 minutes.
However, if you can’t find a rider at first, give it another try. This happens a lot during rush hours, well, for good reason. Also, if the rider you get is very far from your pick up, it is better to cancel and request again than waiting for a distant rider who might take ages to show up.
Wait for the call.
More often, the rider will call you on the number you provided while signing up for the service. This might be for clarity of your pick up location, or just informing you they are on the way to pick you up. When your rider calls, feel free to explain to then the exact location, it can be a known local name for the area which may not be similar to what is available on the map.
Stand on the right side of the road.
Stand on the side of the street that has traffic going in the direction you’re headed. If you’re going downtown, stand on the side of the street that has traffic going downtown already. It’s not necessary, but it will save you time and a bit of money as the driver doesn’t have to turn around and go the other way. Also, stand in a more visible place where you can quickly see your rider approach.
Find an ideal spot.
Step off from the hawker filled sidewalks to a more visible spot. This makes it easier for rider to notice you from the rest of the sidewalk traffic. But hey, you don’t want to step out too far into the street. Otherwise, you might get one of those speeding two-wheelers run you over.
Watch out for the Helmet Number or Number plate.
These services have so many riders around the city. It is possible to have a rider from the service you use come to your direction without a passenger on board. Don’t hope on so fast. You need to make sure the helmet number and/or number plate matches the one of your rider on the app.
When your rider arrives, the application will notify you. After you meet him, make sure you are served with a hair net and a safety Helmet before the journey is started. The rider will start the journey and you will soon be on your way to the destination point.
After you reach your destination, the application will determine the final cost of the journey. You will then using the payment mode you selected during hailing the Boda Boda.
Okay you Kampala, those are some of the basics for hailing a ride. However, we shall be sharing more ride hailing tips soon to help you move quickly around the city and save a few shillings. Happy ride hailing.