City Link introduces online booking (updated)

Updated below

Sandiswe Bhule has been using City Link coaches a lot, and has some praise to share about their service and booking system;

My friends, family and I travel a lot between Bulawayo and Harare and because I am the youngest they ALWAYS task me with the duty of booking tickets for everyone. Between December and January alone I was booking at least 3 or more round tickets a week via City Link. As a result what started off as a potentially good friendship with the City Link hostess Nobuhle was slowly turning sour because I was always asking her if seats were available and if she could book the bus for me and I pay via EcoCash. If you were her you would probably want to stab your phone every time a message from me came through, I am sure I almost drove her insane.

Today I was on Facebook and I saw a City Link advert telling me I could book online. I didn’t believe it at once because these days people say they can do something and if you are lucky they will turn around just to give you one excuse after the other for their failure to do what they say they can. You can only imagine just how I felt when I went onto the website and tried to book online! I am the happiest person right now thanks to City Link – I am well equipped to do an amazing job as Trip Booker!

Thumbs up and well done City Link! You guys are just too awesome for introducing this service. I hope that it will be well maintained and only get better with each transaction!

I was on your bus 3 times in the 2 week holiday and I loved my experience! I have  just one request, please may you start serving healthier food on the bus?

Ringing endorsements are rare for any customer service in Zimbabwe, so City Link must be doing something right.

Their Facebook page is here, the website with the new booking form is here.

Update 1 I tested the website booking system, and found it quite interesting.

Route and date selection are pretty straight forward. If you have ever made an online airfare booking, you’ll also recognise familiar options like seat selection.

After filling out all the route, date, seat, personal details and mobile number information, clicking the “Make Payment” button takes you to a bottleneck.

You have to register with Paynow to make an online payment.

What would have been better is to give a “Pay later” option, where I can then go confirm my booking at their office or simply give an Ecocash merchant code, instead of immediately making me log in to Paynow.

Luckily, I am already registered so I simply logged in, then I was faced with bottleneck number two.

My dummy fare was for Harare to Chegutu, at USD$20 for one adult. CityLink makes you pay all charges (which makes sense, and is normal), so online payment is slightly more expensive than just booking in person.

citylink2

I personally do not see the point of using the online payment system as is. The booking system is fine, but only if it books the trip and lets me pay in cash.

If we are to create an ecommerce culture in Zimbabwe, it will be difficult if we present our cash-based society with figures like this, where they pay a clear premium for what’s meant to be cheaper and convenient.

I know the charges are standard, but this, as it currently stands, is not worth the trouble. – Joe

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Clarence Lewis Madira says:

    Am Happy we finally have better buses running between HRE and BYO. I honestly think you guys are making a great change for some of us who used to hate going to Mbare Musika to board the Bulawayo bus. I always used to wonder why Zim could be like S.A where we have luxury Inter-City coaches. This is a big step City Link. I no working with people is difficult but I hope you will do your best as there is so far. Am proud of my country’s improvements. Big Ups City Link.

  2. Tawanda says:

    I think the CityLink initiative is a good thing, whilst bloggers will always find something to criticize, the extra $1.76 (at most) is really nothing compared with the convenience offered, especially considering how much it costs to drive to Citylink offices from various locations.

    Honestly, I dont understand while have an online system that still needs me to go and pay at the offices, why not just go there in the first place if you so much love visiting their offices?
    It would also make sense for Citylink to absorb the charges since this means less work and stationery on their side, but for now there is also the issue of recovering on the system developmental costs, so its only fair they do that

  3. Yes Joe

    I understand, but we need balanced reviews. Comments from Jujuru are just too extreme.

    Lets not encourage hate statements by adding onto them. I have shared my experience and i think you need to dilute that one, otherwise people will think that Citylink is that horrible. Sandiswe Bhule has shared a fair experience.

    Just dont let your blog to be used for personal attacks by competitors.

    Thanks

    1. Joe Ruzvidzo says:

      Again you make the same mistake of thinking because someone’s view differs from yours, it lacks balance. And someone you agree with is fair.

      That’s simply not the way it works here, unfortunately. Everyone gets a fair hearing, and any commers are welcome as long as they adhere to the comments code.

      Whether you (or, indeed I) agree with them or not.

      THAT is balance.

  4. Joe Kundeta says:

    As one of the frequent traveller of citylink, i think its unfair to criticize this initiative especially on the costs.

    Remember the extra-fees are normal in the sense that we are avoiding the travelling to the booking offices. Some of us are highly scheduled such that we lose a lot of money when we go to the booking venue. For a sustainable platform, they have to charge. There is no way out.

    Lets not engage ourselves in this Pull Him Down syndrome or we wont have anything.

    As business increases for Paynow, the charges will decline.

    For people who just dont review projects through testing but by using it, they will find everything above board.

    Regards

    Joe

    1. Joe Ruzvidzo says:

      There is no “Pull Him Syndrome” with someone expressing their personal opinion. It is thoughts like that, and thinking that someone who disagrees with you is a “hater”, that actually hold Zimbabwe back.

      There is nothing wrong with someone disagreeing with something, or having a contrary opinion. It is actually HEALTHY.

      As you can clearly see (if you actually read the update) I am very clear that this is MY very own PERSONAL opinion. There are no syndromes involved there, I just simply don’t agree with you, sir.

      1. Joe Kundeta says:

        [This comment is a violation of our Comments Code. It is available here. – Admin]

  5. Moice Jujuru says:

    I think City Link should get the basics right before they jump onto online booking. My sister who is based in Bulawayo used to travel on this ‘coach’ but she has since stopped. In brief, these some of the reasons;
    1. the waiting room at Sheraton( forgive me for using old names, i can’t recall their current name) is always dirty. Everything in that small room is falling apart, the seats and the floors are dirty. i guess it takes a little effort to sweep and mop those floors.
    2. The aircon. Remember you can’t open the windows and it’s important that the aircon must be functional all the time.
    3. Lastly the toilets. This is the main reason my sister is using Bravo Tours.
    Just in case i’m misrepresenting facts, please feel free to take a drive and inspect their waiting room at Sheraton

    1. Joe Ruzvidzo says:

      That sounds terrible. Toilets are a big issue when taking long trips.

      I also tested the booking system, it’s not all sunshine and roses there, either.

      1. I use this coach every week. All you are talking about is fictitious. I always get VIP service from Citylink.

        1. Joe Ruzvidzo says:

          It’s great that you get “VIP service” from them. Obviously your experience differs from someone else, who has their own complaints. That does not make them “fictitious”, just because someone experiences something different from you, doesn’t make them wrong and you right. There is no wrong and right, it’s just people sharing their own PERSONAL experiences.

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