GHANA –  Stabus, a transport startup, has launched its bus-booking app in Accra, and already clocked up hundreds of trips from thousands of users. 

Launched in November, Stabus has developed a mobile app that connects users with private, air-conditioned buses for their ride to and from work. 

Buses leave at set times, with users able to select their preferred pick-up and drop-off locations along a route. Buses are provided by third parties but must meet certain criteria, chief executive officer (CEO) Isidore Kpotufe said. 

“This is a premium service. Our buses are well maintained, always air-conditioned and our drivers are trained against a number of indicators,” he said. 

People have liked the service. So far stabus has completed over 500 trips, and processed more than 7,000 trip bookings. It has over 1,500 passengers signed up, and is still growing. 

“Demand has been overwhelming and we are aggressive on launching stabus on new routes, without compromising on quality,” said Kpotufe. 

This demand resulted from the fact the startup is addressing inefficiencies in Accra’s public transport system. The startup is currently raising a seed round, and plans to expand to Ivory Coast this year. 

“Passengers are often forced to either fight or join a long queue to board a bus. The buses used to ferry passengers are old and non-AC, and have unreliable departure times,” Kpotufe said. “A trip on these kinds of buses is usually terrible.” 

Stabus looks to provide a better experience. It charges a fixed fare that is between 10 and 30 per cent higher than regular services, but Kpotufe says it justifies the greater cost.  

“We are not just building a bus-hailing app. We are reinventing public transport by partnering with private companies to build modern bus stops that encourage more people to use public transport,” he said. 

In most emerging markets such as Sub-saharan Africa and South America, public transport has been losing ground each year to private car ownership. Users frequently experience inadequate public transport operations with often overcrowded and over-aged buses and stations, resulting in extremely poor quality services. This is where startups like Stabus come in and help with the situation.