Boda bodas and tuk tuk imports in the first nine months of last year rose by 26 percent from a similar period in 2018, defying the tough economic times that hurt the purchasing power of Kenyans, official data shows.
Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the total units rose to 181, 565 units from 143, 966 in first nine months of 2018, underlining their continued rise in demand.
The rise saw the total import value for boda bodas and tuk tuks rise by 28.7 percent to Sh10.3 billion from Sh8 billion in similar period in 2018.
The motorcycle taxis have in recent years emerged as a significant employment avenue for young people in both urban and rural areas who are otherwise unable to find other jobs. Official data as at end of December 2018 showed that they had employed 258,900 people.
The increased imports came amid a credit crunch that saw banks shun lending to individuals and small business considered highly risky following the coming into effect of the interest rate cap, later scrapped late last year.
Boda bodas and tuks tuks are fast becoming popular alternative for ferrying passengers and goods for small businesses in Nairobi and other parts of the country due to their convenience.
More than 1.35 million motor cycles have been registered in the past decade in the industry with its value chain stretching from wholesale and retail trade, repairs and use for transport.
The sector is estimated to contribute Sh700 million daily to the national economy with each of the motorcycle consumes an average of Sh200 daily worth of fuel and more cash spent on payment of loans, savings and meeting family needs.
Boda bodas cost between Sh58, 000 to Sh150, 000 with the affordable costs enabling many youths across cities and rural areas to acquire them.