The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) and Cassava Smartech’s VAYA have announced a partnership that would see customers being able to book intercity buses through the Vaya app and web portal, which is aptly named “VAYA neZUPCO”
“In this partnership, our customers and the public can now undertake long-distance travel by simply booking a ride in a Zupco bus from their mobile phone, using the VAYA App, and they get to pay the fare via EcoCash,”Givemore Jojo, the CEO of VAYA Technologies
Now, paying for a bus ticket via an app is nothing new, but it is encouraging to see that the state-owned ZUPCO is keeping on with its progressive product offerings. If you remember some time ago, ZUPCO, CBZ and NMB linked up to launch the tap card which to some degree eased the need for change whenever you needed transport within any city.
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What are the upsides to VAYA neZupco?
The most obvious one is that this brings convenience to travellers. You no longer need to go to a ZUPCO outlet or ticket agent in order to place a booking and make a payment. The second upside is that if you book a ZUPCO bus through the VAYA app or web portal you will get insurance through EcoSure. This means that in the event of an accident, you are covered up to ZWL$50,000 for hospitalisation, disability or death.
At the launch event VAYA senior executive, Dorothy Zimuto said that they have also enlisted MARS Ambulances to ferry people to hospitals if an accident is to occur. However ZUPCO officials stressed that their intercity buses are in good order and they are regularly examined by the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID).
The last benefit of VAYA neZupco is that you can share your location with your friends or loved ones. Much like how the VAYA app works in letting you know where the driver is and the route you are taking. Your friends and family will be able to see where you are once your journey has begun.
The not so good things
On the flip side, there is a 5% premium on tickets if you book a ZUPCO intercity bus through the VAYA platform. This is a little steep but it’s a lot cheaper when you look at the time and money it would take to physically go and pre-book a seat.
Another thing is that the service isn’t “universal”. By that, I mean that you will need a smartphone to download the VAYA app or an internet connection to purchase through the web portal. It would have been nice if there was an accompanying WhatsApp bot that could increase coverage or if VAYA’s app and website were zero-rated.
But for now its just those two channels or you can go to a ZUPCO ticketing office.
All in all this is a good move
The benefits outweigh the downsides, and things like zero-rating & WhatsApp are still possible. The service is said to be up and running, but it is limited to the Harare – Bulawayo route.
“I hope that this innovation and partnership, which will initially support passengers travelling between Harare and Bulawayo, will quickly be rolled out throughout other cities and across the country, so that our people can benefit from this smart partnership,”Dr Engr T Garikai, Pro Vice Chancellor at the Harare
Institute of Technology (Guest of Honour at the Launch Event)
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- Vaya tried to make me pay for a ride I never took
- ZUPCO TapCard Will Work In Shops In Future