Opera-owned OPay launches OBus, a bus hailing service, last Saturday in Lagos. This launch is coming barely a week after the introduction of OTrike in Aba.
Currently, Opera runs one of the biggest startups in Nigeria, and in its plan to become a multi-service commercial Internet platform, it has added personal loans, tricycle hailing, food hailing and now a bus hailing service to its platform within the past months.
The launch of OBus comes not too long after the launch of OTrike, a tricycle hailing service in Aba. With OBus, OPay appears to be on its way to beat the market dominance odds to becoming the go-to platform in Nigeria for quite a number of services.
As it is still in its Beta phase, OBus is only available in few locations in Lagos State, operating along the CMS-Ikeja routes. You can only access the OBus service using the updated OPay app. According to an OPay staff, “OBus is like normal buses but it is more comfortable and supports cashless payments.”
To pay for bus trips, you have to use 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). You can purchase the cards at different designated bus stops from OPay agents.
Payments are made by placing the card 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.
One can only wonder what line of service the Norway-based company will go into next, and its next product line, given its heavy $50m funding. Perhaps, this is a means of proving to investors how effectively the recent funding is being utilised.
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.”