The winds of change are blowing through Kenya’s travel landscape as Finnish firm AfriKonekta introduces its online bus booking platform to the Kenyan market. With this move, the stage is set for heightened competition, as AfriKonekta enters a realm that local players like Buupass and Quickbus have been actively navigating.
Hailing from Helsinki, AfriKonekta has strategically targeted Nairobi’s long-distance bus operators, offering travelers the convenience of reserving seats online. But this isn’t just about travel; AfriKonekta has ventured beyond the usual to integrate parcel delivery services aimed at small and medium enterprises, online merchants, and individuals.
Picture this: an app, a web platform, WhatsApp, or a toll-free phone call – all these avenues stand open for travelers to book their bus tickets, select preferred seats, and make digital payments, ushering in a new era of travel convenience.
A glance at AfriKonekta’s website reveals that a journey from Nairobi to Moyale comes at a cost of Sh2,500, while the route from Bungoma to Nairobi sets you back Sh1,000. The service encompasses a network of 37 destinations, including familiar names like Eldoret, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kisii, Kakuma, Kapenguria, and Kitale.
Tichaona Dande, the CEO of AfriKonekta, shares the vision behind this groundbreaking initiative, “Our commitment is to deliver a revolutionary means of travel that makes long-distance travel in Africa a tech-powered and attractive option. We have studied the best practices of global platforms, added our comprehensive expertise of the long-distance bus industry, and adapted the service to the African market needs.”
The startup has already secured partnerships with more than 20 bus operators, ranging from Msamaria Mwema and Nya Ugenya to Salama Bus, Transline Kemera Sacco, Promise Buses, We Travellers Sacco, and Eldoret Express.
The journey doesn’t stop in Kenya, though. Dande looks ahead, revealing the company’s ambitious plans, “We are looking to sign up more players and launch operations in Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Rwanda by early next year.” This expansion strategy is poised to establish AfriKonekta’s presence across Africa and bolster its network of partner operators.
But before this grand expansion, AfriKonekta underwent a six-month pilot phase in Kenya. During this period, the company sold a staggering 45,000 tickets, a testament to the growing appetite for online booking services. This journey of exploration aimed to delve into the nuanced needs of Kenyan operators and the expectations of local passengers.
As AfriKonekta sets the wheels in motion, it’s not just about booking buses; it’s about shaping a new travel experience, one that’s tech-savvy, accessible, and responsive to the needs of the modern traveler. With innovation as the driving force, AfriKonekta’s entry into the Kenyan market is bound to reshape how we embark on our journeys, redefining what travel convenience truly means.