Last month, a new bus company launched on the Kampala-Nairobi route. Its called Tahmeed Bus. Being that I run an online bus ticketing company, it was vital that I ride on that bus for various reasons.
The jokes began as soon as I told one of our UK volunteers that I was taking a 12-hour bus ride to another country. Being that he has just been here for a week, it sounded strange that anyone would sit in a bus that long.
“A bus? OMG.”
My favorite response came from the Safeboda driver who dropped me off near Namayiba Bus Park at 5:46.p.m. on a Tuesday. He was so stunned when I told him a) I was taking a bus, not flying, to Nairobi; and b) that I had booked via an app just like the safeboda app he used to access me. He called his friend and put him on speakerphone so I could confirm it.
Bus service between Nairobi and Kampala isn’t new —DreamLINE AND MODERN COAST have long served the route, if circuitously — but a new entrant with cheap fares, extreme comfort and big followings in other cities are building buzz.
Since the inception of Modern Coast with its styled up travel and convenience, several buses have come up to rival it, with some going as far as offering free drinks to their passengers, Wi-Fi plus massage seats like Buscar Coaches. Recently, Modern Coast went ahead and introduced inland travels by bringing a bus to the Kampala-Kisoro Route.
Since 2016 when we launched Ugabus.com, I have taken a ride on 78% of all buses and travelled all major towns of East Africa. I took rides to answer pertinent questions.
- Are the savings worth it?
- Are the buses comfortable and reliable?
- Is the ride interminable?
- How are seats allocated?
- Is it a rowdy party bus or some silent bus trip with slim noise from the wind?
- How far can Ugabus.com recommend a certain bus company?
- How is the security and safety of passengers?
For the case of this new entrant Tahmeed, the 75,000Ugx ticket to Nairobi put the company to the test. It was a quick trip, with just 11hours to Nairobi. I left Kampala at 5pm arriving in down town Nairobi 04: 57am and eventually packing and settling in at 5: 27am.
Tahmeed is not your usual bus. With a 2×1 seat arrangement, enough leg space to fit in a suit case, cozy entertainment with some buzzs music to send you to sleep, and the well adjusted seat belts to comfortably hold you onto your seat, Tahmeed came off as one of those buses you would take on a long ride, and be sure you won’t need pain killers to Nairobi.
I never carry lots of luggage but I was keen to notice how Tahmeed handled people’s luggage. Save for the few instances where breakables may not be a good idea to take along, they showed some considerate care in luggage handling as they tucked it carefully into the bus boot.
Amenities: The WiFi never worked on that day when I travelled, but the conductor claimed that it had just gotten a mechanical issue and it would be solved. The charging sockets too, never worked that day, and the music being played was some Swahili old school(Not my taste.)
Most importantly, the seats were too comfy I could barely notice that some road segments were potholed.
By the end of the journey, I was already convinced that Tahmeed Bus qualified to be listed on the prestigious bus booking platform of Ugabus.com.