The idea comes from 4 college students at Indiana’s Earlham School — they usually simply gained $1 million for it.
The cofounders of Magic Bus — Iman Cooper, Sonia Kabra, Wyclife Omondi and Leslie Ossete — beat out 4 different startup finalists within the Hult Prize competitors, an annual contest that challenges college students to deal with a urgent international drawback. Magic Bus was certainly one of 25,000 entries on the lookout for an answer to double the revenue of individuals in crowded, underserved city areas.
Magic Bus used Nairobi, Kenya, as its test case.
“Nairobi has the 4th highest commuter ache level on the earth,” stated Cooper. “Meaning it is among the many worst cities for simply getting from place to put, frustration ranges are excessive, visitors jams are frequent and commuting fares are inconsistent.”
There are 2.5 million individuals in Nairobi who reside in slums, 70% of whom depend on the town’s advert-hoc bus system.
The bus system has 20,000 personal buses, referred to as Matatus, which seat between 33 to forty five individuals. Fares vary between 50 cents to $1.50 per journey.
Commuters typically wait as much as two hours for a bus. Even you then won’t get in if it is overcrowded.
It isn’t simply inconvenient — it might take a critical toll on individuals.
“The lack of productiveness is staggering and a day by day wage employee can lose half of their day by day revenue,” stated Cooper.
Magic Bus needs to make use of tech to repair this unreliable system.
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Magic Bus lets riders pre-ebook their bus tickets utilizing smartphones — it is SMS based mostly, so does not even require an web connection.
“eighty% of Kenyans personal telephones and greater than half regularly use SMS texting,” stated Cooper.
It makes use of present bus networks and integrates cellular funds via the nation’s in style system referred to as M-PESA.
“Kenyans already use M-PESA for paying for his or her groceries, their payments and different providers. We have made Magic Bus one other cashless cost service for them if they do not have money available,” stated Cooper.
Utilizing SMS, riders may also learn how distant a bus is and the precise fare.
Magic Bus finally needs to standardize costs for peak and off-peak hours to make bus commutes extra reasonably priced.
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In June, the group carried out a 9-week pilot of Magic Bus outdoors of Nairobi with an area Matatu bus proprietor.
The startup employed volunteers to teach commuters. Bus operators got tablets that related them to the Magic Bus platform, which allow them to map out extra environment friendly routes.
The pilot yielded encouraging outcomes.
Greater than 2,000 individuals tried Magic Bus and seventy three% used it greater than 3 times in a single week. “We bought over 5,000 bus tickets via our platform,” stated Cooper.
A survey of 1,000 passengers discovered that one in 4 saved an hour per journey.
“For some staff, this led to growing their revenue by $1 a day,” she stated.
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The startup now needs to increase this system throughout Kenya — and by the second yr, Cooper expects to be in eleven African cities.
What does the win imply for Cooper and her staff?
“For hundreds of thousands of individuals, dependable transportation is usually the primary test towards accessing good, providers, jobs and schooling,” she stated. “We should not overlook enhancing transportation as a result of it may well have significant impression on society.”
CNNMoney (New York) First revealed September 21, 2016: 5:37 PM ET
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