The three main forms of public transport - minivans, auto rickshaws and motorbikes - are ill suited for rural Africa. Nonetheless, each mode has quickly saturated the transport market.
Although affordable, motorbikes are incredibly unsafe on degraded rural roads and cannot carry many passengers or goods. While more functional than motorbikes, minivans are unaffordable to most local transport entrepreneurs (people who would normally buy and operate a public transit vehicle as a business), do not provide point-to-point transport and are too infrequent to provide a consistent transport service. While auto rickshaws have proven incredibly successful in urban areas where they offer short-haul transport to the local community, they are simply too impractical to operate in rural environments and remain focused in towns and cities. The following chart shows the value curve (key purchase criteria) of these alternatives against the Mobius car.
Minivans are one of the most common forms of privatised public transport in Africa. Originating from Japan and Dubai as an 8-person vehicle, once in Africa they become heavily decorated and are licensed to carry up to 14 people.
The auto rickshaw is a three-wheel motorised vehicle common throughout Asia and Africa. Auto rickshaws comprise a very basic design with bench seating for three passengers, an open frame and a small 390cc two-stroke engine.
Motorbikes in Africa largely comprise Chinese and Indian imports which although of lower build quality, can be purchased for as little as $1,000. Motorbikes are ubiquitous throughout Africa and drivers rarely wear helmets.
Power & Handling