Africa: OPay launches ‘OBus’, a public bus hailing service, in Lagos
Opera-backed OPay formally launched OBus, a bus hailing service, in Lagos last Saturday. This is coming barely a week after the introduction of OTrike in Aba.
In its plan to become a multi-service commercial internet platform, OPay which started as a mobile payments platform in 2016, has within the past months added motorcycle hailing, personal loans, food delivery and tricycle hailing to its list of services. And it doesn’t seem to be resting on its oars.
OBus, like ORide and OTrike, is a commuter transit service that will operate using branded hummer buses for intrastate trips within Lagos.
It has since inception been incorporated into the OPay app where ride orders can be made. To access the OBus service, users will need to update their OPay app. Currently in beta testing, it only operates along the CMS-Ikeja routes.
“OBus is like normal buses but it is more comfortable and supports cashless payments,” an OPay staff told Techpoint during an online chat.
OBus trip fare payments are to be made using an OBus Card. It is a QR-enabled card that comes in different denominations — as low as ₦200 ($0.55) and as high as ₦2000 ($5.51). Cards are purchased from OPay agents at different designated bus stops.
To make payment, cards are placed over a sensor reader inside the bus. The sensor then reads the ticket barcode which was generated through the mobile app before the trip and withdrawal will be made immediately.
An OBus Card can be used for multiple trips until the credit is exhausted. Alternatively, payments can also be made through the OPay wallet, as with other OPay services.
Regarding concerns about his company’s speed of product and services expansion, the OPay staff explains it away as a means of testing new waters.
“I admit that OPay is moving very fast. However, I believe we will learn from experience, just like Gokada which is having its share of challenges already.”
There is no telling what surprises OPay is set to spring up in the coming months. Perhaps, this is a means of proving to investors how effectively the recent $50 million funding is being utilised.
by Oluwanifemi Kolawole