Bus.com.ng, a road transport solution provider, set out to create online ticket booking platform for travelers across the nation officially launched its operation on November 1. In this interview with Mary Ekah, the company’s Business Manager, Gloria Effi, speaks more about the company
What is Bus.com.ng all about?
Bus.com.ng is a company that deals with road transport solution. We have two solutions presently: one for the bus operators and one for the travelers. The first one is an electronic ticketing system where we empower the bus operators to be able to issue electronic tickets at their terminals so that when a passenger comes to the park, instead of using the manual tickets, the ticketer they would use the system to capture the passenger’s vital information, the destination and amount paid, after which an SMS is sent to the passenger.
The other solution is an online platform where the passengers can buy their bus tickets online instead of going to the bus terminal. A day before your trip or even few hours before you embark on your trip you can go on this platform and book for your tickets online for any destination in Nigeria or in West Africa. We don’t want people to start rushing to the park on the very day they are travelling, instead you can just sit at the comfort of your home and book a bus at any bus terminal of your choice and then go on your trip the next day without the stress of having to rush to the park and queue to buy ticket. We are trying to solve the issue of accessibility as well as convenience.
How long have you been in existence?
We have been in operation for six years but we came into the market in 2013 to actually run a test to see if the market was ready for the online bus ticketing. And then we ran the test for almost two years and we went back to re-strategise and do some restructuring to suit the findings we got and on November 1, this year, we came back again in full force. We can say that some of the top bus companies in Nigeria are working with us right now.
How ready are Nigerians for the kind of road transport solution you are bringing on board now considering how impatient Nigerians are?
Talking about the readiness of the market, we all know that almost every household in Nigeria has a smart phone now and if this is so, it is obvious that market is actually ready for this unlike when we started in 2013.
What impact will this new innovation have on the lives of the average Nigerians?
A large number of the population in Nigeria travel by the road and more so because of the economic situation we are in right now, a lot of people will like to cut cost and travel by road rather than spending so much on airfare. So what we have done is to improve lifestyle with the different kinds of solutions that we offer. We also give a card system payment, so that if you buy your ticket at bus.com.ng, you can make payment with your card at any bus terminal you are travelling with and with this, we will change the lifestyle of travellers in the sense that you are using one card to make payments at different bus companies across Nigeria, that is ease of life. And the fact that we are giving you an online system where you don’t have to go to the park be on queue and stress yourself to buy tickets for your trips, and thereby waste the time you would have used to do other things to improve yourself.
What are your expectations for bus.com.ng in the next few years?
We want to get to a stage where every Nigerian that wants to travel by road will think first of bus.con.ng in the sense that when you want bus ticket, you just go online and get your tickets. Of course in everything we do even as humans, we always have challenges. What I would want more is to see bus operators embrace the use of technology as well as to see the average Nigerian who travels by road to also embrace the use of technology.
And also for them to see these platforms we are making available to them as a way of making life easy. We are also looking at where we would have the network providers work with us to ensure that data can be available at very cheaper rates for the bus operators and for that we are looking forward to partnerships and all of that. And for the government, we want them to ensure that we have good road network in Nigeria and to have a country where the roads are constantly in good condition and all of that so that a lot more people will be encouraged to travel by road using our platform.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am someone who loves technology and I have been privileged to be in that sector for a while. I am actually looking forward to seeing how we can use technology to solve a lot of issues around collection and processes, especially in the road transport sector. I believe there are lots of solutions that can be used to improve the sector. And I am very passionate about the transport sector and that is why I am still there. I studied Economics at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. And before then, I was also in the transport sector managing other kinds of projects that were technology inclined. So I have been in the sector for a while to acquire so much experience for this present project.