Many at times, people need a way to conveniently pay their bus tickets, and because this solution is absent, many people miss opportunities, harbor lots of stress when travelling, and spend way too much to offset these inconveniences. However, many have tried to make apps for bus booking, but have given up. Indeed a difficult path. Then suddenly, during this genius inspire-p2a challenge, we were asked to build apps that suit the African context. It was then I realized, that the only way to succeed at this endeavor, was to build something, that's truly African (especially very Cameroonian). That's exactly what we did, because Matazm has overcome all the roadblocks in our African Market, especially those of tech infrastructure, complexity, and trust. We decided to name it Matazm, after the place Matazem, at Bamenda.
What it does
Matazm allows users to book their travel tickets from the comfort of their home. It also allows agencies to sell tickets, while still maintaining their traditional analogue processes. As a user, you can pay your bus ticket from WhatsApp on your smartphone, and online.
How we built it
Sandra and I met at Skye8, and decided to work on this project. As a sociologist, she did thorough usability checks, as well as informal market research. She made some of our PowerPoint presentations. She did a great job to test the system, from time to time, and to share with her friends to try it out. As for me, I wrote lots of code, and managed digital resources needed by Matazm, such as emails, and YouTube.
Challenges we ran into
TIME to complete the prototype.
The synchronization problem, arising when online users get to choose the same seats just before the physical clients have paid. Getting Mobile Money APIs
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're glad that we made it compatible with WhatsApp. To start a project like this immediately with an app, would meet some resistance from the agencies, and customers. We're glad that we made it work via WhatsApp, a social media Cameroonians are very familiar with. We're also very happy that Matazm permits the agencies to function traditionally. The plan is to these agencies step by step, and this is the first step.
What we learned
We learned that we humans preach change, but are creatures of habit. Never reform too fast. We also learned that, by genuinely focusing on our love for fellow Cameroonians, we could understand them more easily, and build just what works for them.
What's next for Matazm
French Translation Giving users the ability to make their choice of seats Allowing people book their ticket via USSD. This is especially useful for those with internet difficulties. Ability to allow users sell their tickets, if their travel was canceled.