The name of the startup is Magic Bus ticketing and it works in such a way that commuters or passengers who live in urban areas do not have to wait endless hours at the bus-stop on a queue before embarking on a journey. Rather they can send a text message to get the schedule for private bus drivers/owners popularly called Matatu’s, book with the one that is going their way and move out at the time it says on the schedule to get on it. That simple! Simple enough for the startup to clinch a $1million seed funding as winners of the September 2016 Hult Prize. The Hult prize is a seed funding partnership programme between the Hult international business school and the (Bill) Clinton global initiative.
According to the founders of Magic Bus ticketing, Iman Cooper, Sonia Kabra, Wyclife Omondi and Leslie Ossete, while soliciting support to win the Hult prize, the impact of Magic Bus rests in the fact that commuters will be able to conveniently book their tickets through SMS which ultimately allows them to better plan their day and have access to better services like jobs, education, and healthcare currently out of their reach.
“The majority of us now accept Uber and Lyft as easy and convenient ways to get around cities, but for underserved markets these technologies exclusively rely on the use of smartphones”.
Already, commuters and passengers are over-charged on bus trips in Kenya and Magic Bus hopes to ease that burden by registering more buses on the platform using the funds they have just acquired as well as train bus crews, pay salaries, acquire hardware for tracking the buses and all other tech support that will boost productivity and scalability of the app. Payment method for the use of the app/service is either in cash or cashless via M-Pesa which is what practically every Kenyan uses to pay for everything!
Brilliant, brilliant idea!
Applications are now open for the 2017 edition of Hult Prize, click here to apply