LET’S FACE IT: TECHNOLOGY AND THE WORLD OF TRANSPORTATION

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Transportation is a topic covered in history class for those who did the subject in high school. Here, they told us we have three modes of transportation; air, road, and water. For the purpose of this column, let’s go deeper into road transport and open-mindedly explore the possible opportunities in this industry. From the basic definition, transport is the movement of people and goods from one geographical location to another. Observing how the earth operates, movement is a way of life. The earth itself rotates and revolves in twenty-four hours and three hundred and sixty-five days to give us a day and an year respectively.

We have come to agree that business is the process of solving problems within the society; however, will you concur with me when I assume transport is still a problem in this age and day? We have experienced great improvements from the traditional means of transportation although we are taking quite long to adjust to the modern means which are constantly advancing with time and technology. Looking at it, I’m seeing a niche that is somehow here to stay. Today, people are moving more than ever before and also notice the increased movement of goods for business. This explains why vehicle manufacturers are producing more today than a few years ago.

When seated next to matatu drivers I like asking them, how is the business doing? Many of them say it’s no longer profitable as it used to be years back. Asking them what could be resulting in low profits despite the rising number of commuters, they attribute it to an increased number of matatus that lead to fewer trips since they share routes and stages. Their main challenge really is competition, not even from matatus but cabs, and motorbikes. I am convinced it’s not a question of what transport business are you in but that of how are you doing it. The difference between offline transport service providers and online continues to widen, technology is calling for the attention it deserves.

Now that I decided to talk about matatus, see how Swvl is changing the game. They are a premium alternative to public transportation in Kenya. They got an app where you can book fixed-rate rides on their existing routes. They offer affordable, quality, convenient, and reliable bus rides every day. This single element of improving their services and putting their business online has had a negative impact on the matatu business and mode of transport. Remember the taxis that used to park outside malls, hospitals, clubs, and other public places? See what Uber and Bolt did to them. In fact 95% percent decided to join these companies because they could not beat them.

Maybe I have dwelt much on public transport, however business is like so in the transportation of goods. Tracking business is on the rise as there is growth in the manufacturing industry. In cities, residents are regularly moving from one apartment to another and also changing office locations creating a niche for movers. Delivery services are also doing great, people are buying online then products delivered to their doorstep or nearby centers. Transportation of raw materials for production and building purposes. The only way to achieving great results is by integrating these services with technology such that they will be affordable, convenient, and reliable; in these three words lies an enormous success in the future word of transportation.

Edwin Kiarie is a marketing practitioner, enthusiast, and consultant. You can reach him on +254 797 086 920 or edwinkiarie27@gmail.com

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