I wrote about BuuPass two years ago when I discovered I didn’t have to take a matatu from home to town to book a bus. The service has been running smoothly since then, and is still available on *877# (and BuuPass.com). I am a loyal user of Easy Coach, and since then all my tickets upcountry and back have been booked using BuuPass. Things have been smooth save for a little mishaps here and there on ticket printing, but that’s the fault of the agents.
Today, Safaricom and BuuPass have announced a partnership essentially branding the service BuuPass has been offering as M-PESA Bus Booking Service. Which I believe is part of BuuPass strategy to reach more people who may never have heard of the service because you can now use BuuPass to book:
- Easy Coach
- Modern Coast
- Palmers and
- East Africa Safaris
So if either of these bus companies are your preferred means of travel, then you can now easily buy a ticket to wherever you’re going many days before the date of travel, without having to walk to the booking office.
“This partnership with BuuPass seeks to extend the convenience of M-PESA by empowering our customers to book a bus ticket wherever they may be and at their luxury. We further see a prospect in linking bus companies to opportunities by providing them with a solution to manage customer ticketing and cashless payments,” said Rita Okuthe, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, Safaricom.
Sonia Kabra, Co-founder and Director – BuuPass said, “We are glad to partner with Safaricom to provide travelers with an easy and flexible solution to book and manage their journey. Our platform similarly provides bus companies with a bus and parcel management system where they can manage their fleet, have control over their operational costs, and effectively reach more travelers and in turn sell more seats through our marketplace.”
Having more companies working with BuuPass also offers customers a variety of options either they never knew existed, or never knew pricing and how to book. Like I said, I only use Easy Coach, but since BuuPass partnered with Modern Coast months ago, I’ve tried their bus services once. I may try others like Palmers and EA Safaris.
A problem we had when BuuPass worked only with Easy Coach is you couldn’t go to places where Easy Coach doesn’t go. Now there’s more destinations.
I don’t know how the uptake of BuuPass has been since they went live. Like what percentage of tickets for Easy Coach do they account for, and how people rate their services. Also, it is unclear how this partnership with Safaricom will work in the future. Will people only pay via M-Pesa going forward? Or will BuuPass include other options for payment?