Relationship between Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Motorcycle Taxi Riders and Their Socio-Economic Wellbeing: Case of Homa Bay County, Kenya
Owuor, Irene Awuor
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Motorcycle taxis have become a popular means of transportation which generates income for many riders in Kenya. However, there are various factors which expose riders to internal and external shocks and stresses which inevitably influences the riders’ socio-economic wellbeing (SEWB). Studies that have been conducted so far largely focus on “social vices” allegedly being committed by motorcycle taxi riders (MTRs) hence a persistent knowledge gap about SEWB of riders’. Acknowledging that MTRs are a valuable community resource because they facilitate transportation of people and goods, this study investigated the relationship between socio-demographic characteristics of motorcycle taxi riders and their socio-economic wellbeing: Case of Homa Bay County, Kenya. The study objectives included to: establish the relationship between demographic characteristics of MTRs and their SEWB, assess the relationship between social connectedness among MTRs and their communities and the riders’ SEWB, determine the relationship between involvement of MTRs in groups and their SEWB, analyze the relationship between ownership status of motorcycle taxi among MTRs and their SEWB and establish the levels of socio-economic wellbeing of motorcycle taxi riders in Homa Bay County. Cross-sectional community-based analytical survey design was used to investigate the problem, guided by social capital theory. Social protection approach was adopted to conceptualize this study. Simple random sampling was used to select 322 MTRs out of which 315 participated in the study, hence a 98% response rate was established. Key informants including six traffic police officers, nine officials of Homa Bay County boda boda SACCO and 10 community leaders were purposively sampled and interviewed for additional information. Research instruments used included: questionnaires, interview guide and focus group discussion guide as well as observation checklist. Data from this study was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze quantitative data whereas qualitative data were thematically analyzed and also used to complement quantitative data. Findings were presented using tables and bar graphs. Chi-square test statistically confirmed a significant relationship (p=0.013) between localities of motorcycle taxi operation (rural and urban) and SEWB and a significant relationship (p=0.036) between ownership status of motorcycle taxi and SEWB of MTRs. Chi-square tests also revealed that there is no significant relationship (p=0.622) between genders of MTRs and their SEWB, MTRs riding license possession status and their SEWB (p=0.783), social connectedness among MTRs and their communities and the riders’ SEWB (p=0.226) as well as MTRs involvement in groups and their SEWB (p=0.176). The study concluded that motorcycle taxi riders in Homa Bay County experience high levels of SEWB at 63% with probability error of 5%. Implications of the study findings to MTRs, policy makers and academic researchers were also outlined. The study recommended the following for policy, practice and further study respectively: Designing policies that promote the establishment of medical facilities within reach for MTRs and their families, promotion of riding of self-owned motorcycle taxi if disposable income of MTRs were to increase hence possibility of higher SEWB and comparative study of socio-economic wellbeing of motorcycle taxi riders who operate in the rural and urban locality.