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.

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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

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