Kolors, a Mexico City-based startup, says its platform that connects intercity bus riders with bus drivers is like “if Uber and Southwest Airlines had a baby.”
Like Uber and other ride-hailing platforms, Kolors doesn’t own any of its own vehicles, but rather partners with small and medium-sized bus operators that are already running scheduled services. And like Southwest and other airlines, passengers are coddled by a bus attendant, a Kolors employee who checks in passengers, accepts payments of cash when needed, and sells snacks and drinks.
In emerging markets, similar products are creeping up to address what Kolors CEO and founder Rodrigo Martínez says is something of an antiquated industry. In Africa and the Middle East, Treepz and Swvl use a similar model for both intra- and intercity bus travel, minus the bus attendant. Part of the push to digitalize the bus industry is because the technology exists now. But as GDP in emerging markets rises, so do the expectations of consumers for higher-quality products, making busing, the lifeblood of countries like Mexico, the perfect industry to disrupt.
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