NTSA set to licence boda bodas, tuktuks in new safety rules

A tuktuk stage outside the new stage set by the County at Mowlem in Nyamasaria in Kisumu County on March 24, 2020. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Drivers of motorcycle taxis, popularly known as bodabodas, will now have to register with and obtain public service badges from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

This is according to proposed amendments in the National Transport and Safety Authority Act, 2022 that extends the regulator’s mandate to include two and three-wheeled vehicles that have in recent years become ubiquitous across the country.

According to the amendments, NTSA will now have the power to “establish systems and procedures for registration and licensing of two and three-wheeled public motorcycle taxis (tuk-tuks).”

The amendments will also see NTSA work with county governments to register and license operators and issue them with public service vehicle badges similar to those issued to matatu drivers.

In recent years, the State has sought to increase its oversight role over bodabodas as more Kenyans increasingly rely on them for their daily transport needs. In 2018, Nairobi County banned bodabodas from the central business district with an exception of those conducting deliveries to ease congestion in the city.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that the number of motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents more than doubled from 591 in 2018 to 1,136 in 2020.

The extended mandate of the NTSA will give the State a clearer picture of the number of bodaboda operators in the country, making it easier to tax them. According to the KNBS, the number of registered motorcycles and tuk-tuks went up 30 per cent from 195,253 in 2018 to 252,601 in 2020. 

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