Modern Coast still commands the direction and pace of Kenya’s transport industry, and majority of us seem to agree with that. Sadly, this dominance carries with it a hideous spell that makes even the best, vulnerable to a sickness that could ruin so much so fast.
Word of truth, Kenya’s middle-income has expanded tremendously in quantity and quality. In quantity because the SME has managed to create branches across East Africa and employ a reasonably paid workforce. In quality, there has also been the temptation to culture a code of safety and comfort among these employees.
In settings where long trips are still inaccessible to millions and much of the infrastructure undeveloped, safety and comfort tend to become synonymous with luxury. And this is where most players in the industry go wrong. seem inclined towards endless regulation, riding smooth and safe on bad roads is the secret tide beneath the wings of Modern Coast.
In terms of regulation, it is often done by manufacturers, I’m talking Scania and the like; companies that define safety and excellence for traders and governments. What you get is a combination of class and safety and who else to entice more than the people owning and working for SMEs.
Additionally, they have had to rethink marketing, from very composite to more organic tactics such as branding buses with popular celebrities. Other pluses were online booking, loyalty cards, and reasonable stop-overs on the journey. What’s more, they had to stratify offers within and across coaches. OXYGEN sends a daring, ultra-modern stance and you could choose across business, First-class or VIP. Depends on your style.
Other stuff that makes the working-class go wild?
How reasonable to offer water (and I miss AFIA juice), free WiFI, genuine leather and reclining seats, personalized entertainment and AC and a large view of the landscape. Multi-axle and KONI suspension and shock technology are all customized to the bus for incredible comfort in nasty terrain.
There was also the discomfort of jerking about the seat as gears change from low to high-speed. Gone. Opticruise is the new clutch control that calculates millions of decisions every second so that the driver knows how and when best to speed or slow. The result, the smoothest ride.
Travelers also yearn for flexible departures to any destination and indeed Modern Coast has truly differentiated its schedules throughout East Africa. The speed too is fine.
Another feature worth mention is the overhead rack. These are compartments for small luggage but are now more spacious, easy to reach and lock. They are well lit and hardy and how they integrate with the AC and sound systems, pretty awesome workmanship. Then, you travel hands free…
Did I mention that Modern Coast is also leading in ticketing technology? It even reads, somewhere, that all arrivals should be half an hour earlier than departure and its here that the bubble stretches too far and… boom!
First of all there has been an endless promise for a bigger, cleaner, safer and cozier lounge, where travelers could shelter, freshen-up and even more importantly, for Modern Coast to showcase its luxury packages. Sadly, the waiting for the waiting bay is getting unbearable.
Small, dirty and congested lounges are the perfect recipe for many things that could compromise quality. Technically, we call it the broken window. One dysfunction breeds another and soon the system fails. Example, travelers arrive late to avoid sitting in a nasty bay, but arrive all last minute, there is a bottle-neck at the teller and with the crew. As pressure mounts, travelers tend to be edgy and staff irritable. Tensions flare and there is an exchange. Superiority complexes of staff translate to customer harassment and an impostor takes advantage. Then trouble…
I have details; the AC at the Mombasa’s lounge is broken and has a missing window, and how outrageous to cluster your customers at a petrol station without sufficient fire-safety? The fumes are also too noxious to knock-out. The floors are not mopped well and regularly, the seats are worn-out and dirty, and the TV’s volume is always poorly set. This is not all. In Nairobi, the ceiling is at the verge of falling and its impossible to tell between passenger, crew and looters.
At the stop-overs, the language is shadiest. In the 21st century don’t tell us “tokeni mkajisaidie?”
My point, market superiority is seldom a matter of technology alone. Poor company infrastructure has a long domino-effect on customer experience. Modern Coast may not have lost its luck but must work with earnest to accelerate the construction of a waiting lounge that reflects its technology and capital.
For now, seek a consultant in crisis management and etiquette to aid your team in taming egos. Coaches are spaces like any other, I don’t see why they should not afford every traveler a wow experience.