“Inter-city travel using public means sometimes involves visiting a booking office to book a ticket in advance. This comes as an extra cost to the passenger in terms of fare to and fro CBD (Town), time spent while shuttling to town and on queue, as well as the inconvenience involved,” says Oyebode.
With the above problems Collins embarked on a journey to eradicate all the aforementioned problems with a marketplace where passengers can make choices and a booking platform for them to book for their tickets to their work or holiday destinations in Kenya or across East Africa.
Collins says Makanga lets the passenger to search buses going to a specific route complete with departure and ETA time. Compare fare prices and timing among the various bus companies, choose a preferred bus company, time and bus model and select a preferred seat on the bus, choose a pick-up point within the departure city and pay fare ticket via MPESA .
According to Collins, advantages of Makanga include a stress-free ticket booking and payment, ability to eliminate the worry of losing or misplacing a ticket as it is available in individual Makanga account at anytime. The app also gives users the opportunity to plan journey timing and cost.
Users have an avenue to contribute to service improvement through rating of both buses, bus companies or individual drivers.
At the moment, the Makanga app covers routes from Nairobi to upcountry and Mombasa to upcountry. Check it out here.
TechMoran has reached out to Collins on his business model and how many buses are using the platform so far. Collins will also explain to us how he aims to survive the unkind market that saw the dead of BookNow, a venture-backed bus booking platform that was the first and only bus travel market place for East Africa but closed shop unceremoniously.
BookNow aimed to aggregate multiple bus companies in East Africa in a move to help users to easily search for and book buses to their destinations via their mobile phones but due to lack of follow-on funding BookNow quickly booked its death and there are no signs of its resurrection.