By Duncan Mlanjira
National Bus Service, administered by Mulli Brothers’ business empire, has rejuvenated the Blantyre-Lilongwe coach service by injecting new state-of-the-art Marco Polo coaches.
The coaches were officially launched on Saturday through a golf tournament the company sponsored at Blantyre Sports Club.
Some of the participating golfers were transported from Lilongwe to Blantyre in two of the coaches that are equipped with uninterrupted wifi services, air conditioning, reclining seats, refrigerator, phone charging ports, high definition TVs, toilets and offers excellent refreshments.
National Bus Service general manager, Vincent Patel told the media that they decided to come back into the market in a big way by marketing through the golfers, most of whom are market leaders who travel a lot between the two cities.
“National Bus Service has been a major player in the passenger transport industry since time immemorial,” Patel said in reference to the fact that the company was bought from government after UK-based Stagecoach closed their business in early 2000.
Before then the company was run by the government under the name United Bus Company (UTM). When Stagecoach took over, it introduced the luxurious coach service to cater for frequent travellers as an alternative break from constant long-haul driving, which National Bus Service inherited.
National Bus Service went a mile further by introducing trendy state-of-the-art double decker coaches while maintaining the rural routes which were neglected by other players in the industry.
The company also inherited a passenger service vehicle (PSV) training school, which equips and certifies its drivers and other interested people in defensive techniques and other legal passenger service procedures.
Thus Patel assures the public that their coach and other bus services are rarely involved in nasty road accidents because their drivers are well trained, well mannered just as their crew members.
“We assure our customers that their safety in transit is guaranteed and that they will enjoy the best comfort in our coaches.
“We are taking a mile further as the market leader and we will continue providing the industry with many more innovations,” he said.
He said charges from Blantyre to Lilongwe and vice versa are at K15,000 and the departure points for Blantyre — at 7am and 11am — are at the newly-opened Golden Peacock at Chichiri before stopping at Old Bestobell premises near City Motors at Ginnery Corner.
The same times of departure apply for Lilongwe to Blantyre at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) and at City Mall.
Patel said the new fleet will start its operations from Tuesday, December 1.
And they launched their services with ride treat for journalists, musicians, lawyers and other business captains from it’s headquarters in Makata to Zalewa Road block in Blantyre.
Among other facilities in the state-of-the-art buses are a coffee maker and water dispenser.Speaking during a test ride, National Bus Company Board Chairperson Leston Mulli said: “The the newly launched coaches will create employment opportunities and provide an alternative traveling option in between the two cities.” Muli added that,” four more coaches are in transit to Malawi and will beef up numbers of the current fleet.”
Musician Tay Grin who took part in the test ride called on Malawians to support local enterprises in the spirit of ‘Best Buy Malawian Campaign.’National Bus Company is a subsidiary of Mulli Holdings Group.