Setback: Distance hinders ongoing boda boda registration

Boda boda rider

A boda boda rider takes a nap on his motorbike while waiting for fuel at a petrol station in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on April 3, 2022. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The ongoing registration of boda boda operators is turning out to be an expensive affair for some riders in Homa Bay County.

Since the listing began last week, a group of riders in the county have been hesitant to let the government have their data.

This is because registering involves costs for riders who must travel long distances to get to government offices.

When the government launched the issuing of ‘smart’ driving licences to qualified riders, it said they could register at all 52 Huduma Centres across the country.

In Homa Bay County, the centre is in Homa Bay town.

This is where the main challenge facing riders starts.

Homa Bay has eight sub-counties, some of them, like Suba, remote and with a poor road network.

It can take up to three hours on dusty roads to get to the county headquarters in Homa Bay town.

Rains not making any better

The ongoing rains also make movement difficult.

Riders from Suba are the most affected.

Riders who spoke to Nation said they were not ready to register because travelling to Homa Bay town is expensive and time-consuming.

Mr Alfred Omusi, a rider from Magunga, argued that boba boda operators live from hand to mouth and subjecting them to an activity that takes most of the day is a big hit to their pockets.

"The money we earn can sustain our family for a day or two. No one would imagine queuing at the registration centre when his colleagues continue cashing in," he said.

Mr Omusi was yet to register and get his licence.

"I know that the aim of the registration is to promote road safety and security for operators and users of their service," he said.

"I will register when it is more convenient for me and others who are affected by the long distance between my location and the registration centre."

Riders in Suba asked the government to bring the registration services closer to them.

Their challenge is also compounded by the ongoing fuel crisis that has prompted many riders to suspend operations.

Meanwhile, at Huduma Centres, registration continued yesterday, with an average of 120 riders being registered every day.

Homa Bay Assistant County Commissioner Henry Kerea said 1,123 riders had been registered.

"This is below our target. The main challenge has been complaints from riders who say the centre is located far from where they come from," he said.

He said they had sent a proposal to the National Transport and Safety Authority to devolve the services to the sub-county level.

Most of the riders who had registered are from Homa Bay sub-county.

Mr Kevin Otieno arrived at the centre at 6am on Tuesday.

"It took three hours to register. The slow pace is caused by the number of riders against the number of registration clerks," he said.

The Huduma Centre in Homa Bay has six registration kits.