Nairobi News


Transport operators go tech to reduce jam in ticket booking

Transport operators are increasingly adopting modern technologies to offer ticketing efficiencies and provide comfort to commuters across the country.

The new solutions available in the market enable bus operators to seamlessly manage bookings, payments, and passenger information, resulting in streamlined operations and improved profitability.

Players in the sector say the wider penetration of internet and smartphones in the country is making it easier for developers to come up with e-ticketing solutions targeting the mass market, knocking down barriers previously associated with physical appearance by commuters at bus stations to book a ticket.

According to a study by IBM’s Commuter Pain Index in 2011, Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, is one of the most stressful cities in the world for commuters. Traditionally, residents have had to endure the inconvenience of booking transportation in person.

This system contributed to myriad problems, such as long queues which, according to a survey by GeoPoll, saw 32 per cent of respondents spending more than 1–2 hours in line. Moreover, limited payment methods, overcrowded buses, erratic schedules, and spontaneous booking cancellations further compounded the difficulties.

Unfortunately, these issues form the daily commuting reality for the thousands, with the Nairobi Metropolitan Area having a population of around 9.3 million people (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2019).

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In an interview, Easy Coach, one of the operators plying the Western route says since integration of technology into its ticket booking system, it has recorded about 10 million bookings, servicing over 100 destinations in Kenya.

“Technology in ticketing has truly transformed our business. Since adopting a digital booking system provided by players such as Buupas, we have experienced a significant increase in customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and revenue growth. We are thrilled to be a part of this digital revolution in the transport industry,” said Azym Dossa, founder of Easy Coach.

“We have recorded over 10 million bookings, servicing over 100 destinations in Kenya,” she added.

BuuPass, a digital solutions innovator in the transport sector says it is strategically addressing the persistent obstacles within Kenya’s traditional transport system through its pioneering digital booking platform.

Harnessing advanced technology, Sonia Kabra, who co-founded BuuPass with Wycliffe Omondi in 2016, says the company has enhanced 30 per cent of the transportation infrastructure in Kenya within just two years.

“This groundbreaking approach has simplified ticketing processes, streamlining operations for bus operators and transforming the commuting experience for hundreds of thousands of daily passengers,” she said.

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High penetration of Internet and smartphone in Kenya makes it easier for the IT companies and transport sector players to adopt e-ticketing into their operations.

According to a survey by global technology and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Kenya’s smartphone market saw shipments increase 4.5 per cent year on year last year.

Smartphone shipments were up 12.7 per cent from a quarter-on-quarter perspective in the first quarter of 2022. Demand remains high and the market is seeing sustained vendor activity, including aggressive marketing and advertising campaigns and new model launches.

Financing schemes for smartphone purchases are gaining traction in the market, and these played a significant role in helping consumers to acquire new devices during Q1 2022 even as rising inflation pushed the cost of devices up.

There were 23.35 million internet users in Kenya in January 2022. Kenya’s internet penetration rate stood at 42.0 percent of the total population at the start of 2022.

Kenya Railways which operates the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has also automated its ticketing system riding on the penetration of internet and smartphones in the country.

Through the Kenya Railways online system, a passenger can book, cancel a ticket or change travel itinerary at the click of a button.

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