At the recently held Bongohive Launch event, one of the standout start-ups was Tamanga Ticketing. Tamanga Ticketing (TT) is the brainchild of two brothers, Alinani and Wankunda Simuchimba. TT is a ticketing solution for the long haul bus industry.
TT focuses on 3 specific problems with the ticketing business.
Bus operators use manual tickets and ticketing systems. This entails the bus conductor writing an illegible ticket for your journey showing your destination and amount paid. 96% of all Zambian long haul bus services rely only on manual ticketing and 3% are partially electronic.
Inefficient Data Handling
Bus owners are unable to generate any data based on the manual receipts. The manual receipts have no business intelligence. An owner is unable to reward loyal customers or build demographics of customers to improve the product offering.
Customers are forced to wait in long queues to purchase tickets or wait for the bus to leave for hours after being fleeced with the statement “time bus”.
The problem statements above make it a no-brainer; the long haul bus industry should move to electronic ticketing. The move to electronic ticketing will have 5 main advantages:
Based on online ticket sales the bus dispatcher can send out additional inventory (trailer for luggage) if needed. The owner can save on fuel by using a smaller bus if sales are low. With better statistic the bus owner can have multiple size buses to ensure that they do not over supply or under supply seats on a route.
With the right business intelligence, bus owners can initiate loyalty programs to reward customers. The loyalty programs can take the shape of discounts or complimentary rides or even bus miles!
The use of route supervisors to audit tickets will be removed. The staff count can be re-assigned within the business.
Electronic ticketing will open new markets for the long haul bus services. The chaos at Intercity does deter your middle-class traveler from using buses. They would rather give people lifts and charge or try hiking. This market will pay an extra premium for better service. The fact is with Intercity the sector has a low common denominator making it hard to offer a more luxurious service.
An online ticketing platform allows for better revenue tracking. With reduced leakages the bus owners will make greater profits reducing their return on investment period. The additional profits can be used for fleet expansion or marketing or maybe service differentiation.
Tamanga state there are 2.8 million long-haul passengers and 840,000 with mobile phones, the market potential is huge. Any business that can afford to ignore almost a million potential customers does so at its peril. Every operator should be fighting to own the marketing disrupting force. Tickets on Tamanaga should be cheaper and first preference for seat selection.
Bus owners cannot afford to miss this ride with its new market opportunities, revenue collection potential and business intelligence opportunities. Change is always hard but only change will grow your business.