In the year ended 2019, Boda boda and tuk tuk imports hit 10.3 billion shillings in the first nine months, data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates.
According to KNBS, boda boda and tuk tuk imports rose by 26 percent as at September 2019, from a similar period in 2018, where imports stood at 8 billion shillings.
The total number of units imported stood at 181,565 units for the first nine months of 2019, an increase from 143,966 units in 2018.
According to data from the Motorcycle Assemblers Association of Kenya (MAAK), there are about 1.35 million motorbikes that have been registered in the last 10 years.
These motorcycle taxis have provided jobs to young people across Kenya, in both rural and urban centres and consequently able to alleviate a considerable amount of poverty and dependency among the youth.
Currently, there are over 600,000 motorcycle taxis operated by the youth in Kenya, with each earning an average of 1,000 shillings a day.
Motorcycles have proven to be a convenient and efficient way to travel, especially in towns where traffic jams are the order of the day.
According to MAAK chairman Isaac Kalua, each commercial motorcycle supports eight people including the rider’s family and the numerous support service providers like mechanics, tyre suppliers, spare parts dealers and fabricators, implying about 4.8 million Kenyans are dependent on the industry.
While individual riders may not contribute directly to Kenya’s economy, they contribute immensely through the fuel levy charged at petrol stations, since most use an average of 200 shillings on fuel daily.
Boda boda operators have, however, had their fair share of problems since in 2018, they were banned from the CBD by Governor Mike Sonko who cited congestion and insecurity.