Online bus booking platform AfriKonekta has unveiled a $1 (Sh144) countrywide intercity digital bus booking platform, that’s looking to streamline intercity travel in Kenya.
Through the new platform passengers can book a bus ticket to major destinations around Kenya starting from $1 or about Sh144.
According to the firm, the platform has also integrated parcel delivery services targeting SMEs, online sellers and person to person (P2P) delivery services was unveiled on Wednesday and streemed live on their social media platforms.
Afrikonekta CEO Tichaona Dande says that the platform seeks to build a connected Africa, broader and deeper regional and continental integration.
“AfriKonekta was created to build a connected Africa, provide customer focused, low-cost, ‘smart’ and great value travel which is convenient to book and use. Our emphasis is on connectivity, timetable synchronization, route planning and integration, opening up country, regional and continent,” said Dande.
He added that the technology leverages the wide transportation system through digital innovations, e-commerce capabilities, and partnerships to make intercity transportation accessible, comfortable, attractive, efficient, well-connected, reliable, safe, sustainable, and affordable.
For a start it targets long distance bus operators with routes from Nairobi to other towns and vice versa.
Currently, AfriKonekta is covering over 37 destinations (Mombasa, Moyale, Nakuru, Malindi, Busia, Sori, Bungoma, Butere, Siaya, Homabay, Kapenguria, L.Turkana, Bondo, Kisii, Oyugis, Migori, Usenge, Luanda, Ukwala Port, Mumias, Kitale, Mbale, Malaba, Kakuma, Nyamira, Kakamega, Eldoret, Kisumu, among others).
The network comprises 1,000 trips per day, 282 stops with over 1,126 signed up vehicles, ranging from 7 to 62 seaters.
At current operational capacity, the firm is looking to move between 10,000 and 15,000 people per day depending on demand.
The startup has signed about twenty (22) bus operators such as Msamaria Mwema, Nya Ugenya, Salama Bus, Transline Kemera Sacco, Promise Buses, We Travellers Sacco and Eldoret Express.
Eyeing Regional Growth
The firm says it plans to sign up more players, launch operations in Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda by early next year to expand its East Africa connectivity, continental coverage, and strengthen its inventory of partner operators.
“With a wide range of express buses and shuttles, night buses, and affordable coaches and executive minivans available on our platform, we strive to give our valued customers an opportunity to grab exciting offers and deals and enjoy discounted trips,” added Dande.
The service, which can be accessed on an App, Web, WhatsApp or via a toll-free phone call will allow travelers to book their tickets, choose seats and pay digitally, cutting the need to visit physical bus booking stations.
Accepted payment methods include mobile money, credit/debit cards, and electronic bank transfers.
“We are thrilled to join forces with bus operators to further accelerate our journey to empower them to optimize & digitize their operations, maximize revenue collection and cut costs at the same time.”
AfriKonekta’s key partners are small and medium size bus operators.
These are the operators who typically don’t have access to modern digital tools.
Digitisation to Spur Growth
“Digitalization accelerates their business growth, gives them more efficient sales channels, better customer experience, better visibility to actual sales, and tools to predict demand and use their vehicles more effectively,” he added.
In the absence of better rail facilities and air transportation, over 90% of all passenger traffic is completed by road transport (bus and private cars).
AfriKonekta Mobility is a Finnish startup company that is based in Helsinki that was founded by Tichaona Dande and Pekka Möttö.
Before launching in Kenya, Dande emphasizes that AfriKonekta had to understand specific needs of Kenyan operators as well as local passengers. During the 6 months pilot phase the company sold over 45 000 tickets.
“Our vision is to provide tools and processes for African bus operators to prosper and grow starting from Kenya,” he adds.