As a working class in Lagos, getting a bus to work is always difficult. You can spend over an hour at the bus stop in the morning for a bus. Even, there are cases where you have to run after the bus to be able to board. This may end up getting your clothes stained or worse when the day is yet to begin. As farfetched as this sounds, this is a regular experience for residents of busy commercial cities, not just Lagos. This is also the reason for Shuttlers, a “tech-enabled scheduled bus sharing” company.
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It was founded byDamilola Olokesusi in 2016 to solve the problems of transportation and its high cost in Lagos. Shuttlers provide companies with efficient and effective mobility options for their employees through its ridesharing platform.
Just like other startups, shutters raised just ₦3 million ($6,000) from friends and family grants. It also raised $1.6 million in seed funding from several investors to scale within and outside Nigeria. The round was led by Chicago and Africa-focused investment firm, vested World. Others like Fintech unicorn Interswitch and Africa-focused VCs such as Rising Tide Africa, Launch Africa, EchoVC, Consonance Investment, CcHub Syndicate, CMC 21 & Alsa, ShEquity, Five35, Sakore, and Nikky Taurus also participated.
When Shuttlers launched in 2017, it did not have a functional mobile application. Instead, the company ran an unconventional online model using Slack, email, and WhatsApp to communicate with its customers. Yet, this was enough to onboard its first set of business clients. Tech talent unicornwas Shuttlers’ first B2B2C client. Shuttlers offer three services.
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B2B2C: Here businesses split the payment of transport fares with their employees however they deem necessary.
B2B: Businesses pay the complete transport fare of their employees.
B2C: Individual Customers pay their fares by themselves.
Following a revamp in 2019, Shuttlers now have an app where all the bookings can be made. All users have to do is simply download the app from the play store or ios app store, signup, and fund the wallet. After that, the next step is to book a ride from the closest bus stop to their destination, track the bus, and get on when it gets to the pickup point. Ultimately, this saves workers from having to hustle or run after buses in the morning.
Furthermore, Shuttlers operates with an e-hailing license that covers its operations and has an onboarding process for vehicles and drivers. Aside from the tests and onboarding procedures, there are routine daily checks on the buses and quarterly maintenance schedules. This ensures that the vehicles are maintained regularly.
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According to the company, commuters pay 80% less when using its service instead of other ride-hailing services. Again, their prices do not go up relative to demand and rush hours just like regular buses. Shuttlers are unique because it offers live bus tracking, optimal routing based on traffic, and digital payments to ensure customers’ safety. It also has a subscription feature where commuters can schedule rides in advance over a period of time.
Growth and Traction
The company claims to have over 10,000 users across its mobile app and website users. Over 100 buses both unbranded and branded are on its platform, plying over 30 routes in Lagos with over 300 bus stops. Since the company’s inception, they have recorded more than 2 million trips in total and sell 6,000 bus tickets daily. For now, Shuttlers are only available in Lagos and Abuja and is actively fueling its expansion across Nigeria, Ghana and West African markets. The company hasn’t disclosed which other cities within and outside Nigeria it will expand to next.
Featured Image Source: Shuttlers Blog
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