ISLAMABAD: Come this Eidul Fitr, the lives of people travelling on buses throughout the country are about to change, or so hopes the management of ClickBus Pakistan.
The company, originally founded in August 2013 in Brazil, claims to be the largest online bus ticketing platform in the world. Targeting the “bulging young population” of the country as well as frequent business travellers who commute on buses, the company hopes to tap into the Rs17 billion per annum market share by launching the bus booking website.
ClickBus held its launch in the capital at a private hotel on Thursday, where NA-48 representative from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Asad Umar was the chief guest.
After Eidul Fitr, when the website will be officially launched, millions of bus users in Pakistan will be able to book their tickets online, with the company delivering tickets at one’s doorstep or reserving it for them at the bus station. The company covers outbound buses from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad and claims to have most major bus operators onboard, including Daewoo, Skyways, Niazi and Bilal Daewoo.
The venture is funded by Rocket Internet, a private firm which funds startups around the globe and has financed websites such as Foodpanda and Easytaxi in Pakistan. ClickBus is currently operational in seven other countries.
While talking to The Express Tribune, ClickBus Managing Director in Pakistan, Tayab Hasan, said, “We want to tap into the yet-to-boom online market and become the market leaders when it comes to booking your bus tickets online.” He said their aim is to change the way of the past, where travellers are unsure till the very last second whether they will get their bus ticket in time.
“The Pakistani intercity bus market represents more than Rs17 billion in revenues and 17 million ticket sales per year,” said Hasan, adding Pakistan has great potential in online activity.
The company will charge bus companies a certain percentage for selling their tickets, and the end consumer will have the advantage of not only planning and booking a bus trip from the comfort of their home, but also have a ticket in hand without having to visit the station.
Mustafa Zaidi, an employee of a private tobacco company who was at the launch, seemed sceptical about the whole idea. “How will they ensure that no holdups occur when a customer has purchased the ticket online and the bus company refuses to acknowledge it,” he said.
However, he said the concept seems interesting as one would be able to save a lot of time, and money, by being able to compare prices online as well as read recent reviews.
Hasan hopes the venture will provide commuters a hassle-free way of booking tickets as well as an avenue that offers them a chance to make an “informed” choice.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.