Motorbike Transport App Creating Jobs and Saving Lives in Rwanda

Motorbike Transport App Creating Jobs and Saving Lives in Rwanda

SafeMotos is transforming public transport in Kigali by providing quality training and fair wages to drivers and safer rides for customers

tweet me:
This motorbike transport #app is creating #jobs and saving lives in #Rwanda @SafeMotos #Kigali @BCtAInitiative #SDGs
Friday, February 23, 2018 - 7:45am


Rwanda-based motorcycle taxi company SafeMotos is taking the app-based transport service idea, made famous by Uber, a step further by ensuring its product is based on the local needs of both passengers and drivers. Demonstrating this, SafeMotos joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a pledge to ensure one in five of its drivers are female; to reduce road accidents by providing driver training and conducting safety checks on its drivers; and to increase incomes by ensuring that its drivers are paid 15 percent more than average motortaxi drivers by 2020.

Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

In Kigali, a staggering 80 percent of road accidents involve motorcycles. Recognising the need to address this, SafeMotos launched its taxi transport app in 2008 which, importantly, incorporates driver training into its core business approach, and has set targets to ensure that its riders are 10 times less likely to get injured than the average motorbike driver in Kigali. In an innovative approach, SafeMotos offers training to its drivers through a digital platform. In addition to road safety, training also covers customer care, how the SafeMotos app works, how to use a smartphone, as well as weekly English lessons. SafeMotos also teaches drivers how to use digital wallets to better manage their finances.

Central to the SafeMotos approach is a driver rating system, through which passengers can rate a driver’s safety out of a score of 100. In addition, drivers are given a smartphone and SafeMotos installs an app that records their speed, acceleration, GPS and gyroscope information. This data is run through a risk model that identifies speed, acceleration and deceleration trends to determine an overall safety score. Drivers that want to continue using the app must maintain a score of 90/100. Customers can then see drivers’ score and have greater confidence in their safety when calling a SafeMoto.

SafeMotos is helping maintain sustainable employment for residents of Kigali by directly integrating people from underserved/unserved communities into its core business operations as drivers. In addition, with a target to expand its pool of female drivers to 20 percent by 2020, the company is helping to improve women’s safety by providing women with the choice to book a female driver. All SafeMotos drivers benefit from consistent demand, higher rates and safety training.

SafeMotos differs from Uber in that, rather than subsidizing the cost of trips to generate growth, it researches local markets to identify gaps in the market where communities’ needs are underserved. It provides transport services at a fair price for customers and reliable income and stable employment for drivers.

“By understanding the driver’s attitudes to risk and money, their target incomes, their driving preferences and habits, SafeMotos is able to build strong incentives and service design into the system to get the most from each driver and at the same time create the culture of safe driving,” said SafeMotos CEO Barrett Nash “With every accident-free drive and increasing reliability, the chances of being hailed by more customers increases, thus providing a sustainable income for drivers and increased safety for passengers.”

“SafeMotos’ innovative approach to addressing gaps in the transport market among low-income communities in Kigali is not only improving lives by providing jobs to drivers; it is saving lives by improving the safety standards for moto taxi passengers,” said Head of BCtA, Paula Pelaez.

For further information: 
BCtA: BCtA Secretariat:
SafeMotos: Barrett Nash, CEO:
BCtA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign AffairsSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)Swiss Agency for Development and CooperationUK Department for International DevelopmentUS Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.
About SafeMotos:
 Launched in Rwanda in 2015 by Barrett Nash and Peter Kariuki, SafeMotos was conceived as an Uber for African motorcycle taxis that uses telematic data to measure real time driver safety. With more than two million trips taken by SafeMotos drivers in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, SafeMotos has successfully monetised 10 percent of total trips, with more than half of all  trips paid via mobile money or other cashless methods. Every SafeMotos trip is unit economic-positive, proving customer demand and willingness to pay for a differentiated product.