Using an app to save on transport costs
Posted Tuesday, February 19 2013 at 11:22
Estimating travel charges. The BodaPay App can be used by travellers to estimate the cost of journeys that they take.
Talk about being late for an appointment or a meeting and the only option beforehand is jumping onto a Boda bodas (Motor cycles).
One wonders how Boda bodas have become the most preferred choice of transport even with all their associated risks including accidents and the carelessness of their handlers.
However, the answer lies in their ability to snake through traffic and the ease with which they reach unimaginable areas.
Even with no fixed rates for journeys that they make, haggling about the right rates for any particular route is what defines this business.
The only trick is you can never get a better bargain if you happen to be new to a certain place.
For instance tourists fall victim to inflated rates due to the fact that they have nothing to guide them on using this mode of transport.
Riders use such people’s ignorance to reap them off even for routes that would be walkable.
However, such trickery by some Boda boda riders might soon come to an end as a new application BodaPay comes on the market to give new hope to travellers.
The application is a mobile facility that assists Boda boda users to estimate the cost of any intended journey.
Launched at the end of last year, the app has so far been downloaded and used by close to 500 people.
Its estimates may sometimes be slightly higher or lower than the actual charge. For instance, its estimate for a Boda boda journey from Kamwokya to Namuwongo is Shs3,400 whereas its estimate for a journey from Makerere to Kamwokya is Shs2,100.
The team behind BodaPay
The app was designed by a team of five people under the company name Brudan Digital.
These include Tukei Micheal, a computer science graduate from Makerere University, John Kevin Biretwa, a business administration graduate from MUBS, Enos Wakoko, a telecom Engineer from Multimedia University Malaysia, Daniel Ogwok, a computer science graduate from Makerere University and Cynthia Francisca Babirye, an information technology graduate from Uganda Christian University.
Mr Daniel Ogwok, the apps’ lead programmer said in an interview last week that the facility was designed to save travellers from being charged inflated prices by those that provide transport services in Uganda.
“Even when you are not sure of where you are going, BodaPay will help you estimate the average amount you are supposed to pay against a distance in kilometers that you plan on travelling while using a motorcycle (Boda boda). It will also show you the route you will use via Google maps,” Mr Ogwok says.
He adds: “The mobile application seeks to ensure that you spend the required amount for your journey and also help you efficiently plan logistically for any intended journeys a head of time.”
Ms Babirye, a member of the design team says as part of developing the application, the team made research on trends and behavior of Boda boda users and how they spend while using them.
“The application puts in account fuel, repair charges and a rider’s profit. From our research, a motor cycle uses one liter of fuel on a journey of between 20 and 30 kilometres. The app considers this before giving the estimate,” she says.
“Last year, we decided to design applications for social and developmental purposes. So we are confident this app will make a difference in our communities.”
How it works
According to Mr Ogwok, the application is supported by Geo location and Google maps from which it calculates distance between one place to another before giving estimates.
He says: “The app is currently accessible on Android phones with up to 3.5 capacity and we are working on making it accessible on other types of phones. We are also designing one for cabs and taxis. In four months, we shall be launching an upgraded version.”