DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A ROAD TRANSPORT BOOKING SYSTEM
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The word transport means movement of people or goods from one place to another, through the means of human, cars, ship, trains, animals e.t.c. According to (Adewumi, 2010), transport modes are the means by which people and freight achieve mobility. They fall into one of three basic types, depending on over what surface they travel- land (road, rail and pipeline), water (shipping) and air. Each mode is characterized by a set of technical, operational and commercial characteristics. The transport of a person or of cargo may involve one mode or several modes, with the latter case called intermodal or multimodal transport. The human powered transport makes use of human muscle-power in the form of walking and running. However, modern technologies have been used to create machines that enhance human-power. Human-power transport remains popular for reasons of cost saving, leisure and physical exercise. The human-power transport is sometimes the only type available, especially in underdeveloped or inaccessible regions. It is considered as an ideal form of sustainable transportation. Although, humans are able to walk without infrastructure, the transport can be enhanced through the use of roads, especially when using the human-power with vehicles, such as bicycles and inline skates. We also have other means of transport including aviation, which is transport by air; Marine transport which is the means of transportation that make use of river or sea where the mode of movement is through the use of canoes, ship; transport by rail which makes use of railways and the means of transport is by train.
The prevalent view in various global circles is that man is presently living in an age growth of information gathering, processing and dissemination, popularly called the information age. For this reason, managers and other users of information especially in transport industries are demanding more kinds of information to support management and operations. They must therefore respond to the increasing requirement for information and data management. Electronic tickets, or e-tickets, gives evidence that their holders have the permission to enter a place of entertainment, use a means of transportation, or have access to some Internet services. The design of this online system will be beneficial to the company because it has not existed before. Therefore, ABC Transport, Anambra State, a viable investment whose primary objectives are: to spread comfort and hospitality to passengers away from their home, to make profit, will definitely appreciate a system which can automate its manual operations in the area of bus ticket reservation in order to meet customers increasing demand during peak and off peak seasons. The ultimate expectation is to inspire a feasibility study aimed at providing proper guidance and awareness to any future potential investors, particularly those in the bus industry, to consider utilizing the Imo transport, as a gateway to the fertile soil of unlimited opportunities in the south-east Nigeria. (Asogwa S.E, 2008).
Currently, staff at the bus ticket counter is using an internal system to sell tickets at the counter and customers who are unable to buy bus ticket online at this moment would have to go to the counter to a buy bus ticket. Sometimes, customers’ needs to queue up a long queue to buy bus ticket and ask for information and this brings a lot of inconveniences to customers. However, Online Bus Ticket Reservation System enables the customer to buy bus ticket, make payment, and ask for information online easily. Furthermore, staff can sell bus ticket using Bus Ticket Reservation System after checking the bus ticket availability for the customer and print the bus ticket to the customer.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
ABC Transport, Anambra State still uses the manual system of transport management. Many flaws have been identified in this system ranging from human errors (e.g. miscalculations in ticket price, mistakes in noting passenger data, etc.), the fluctuation of passengers during certain periods of time that causes a bottleneck in the check-in process because of the inability of the front officer to multitask and the lack of overview or report of the on-going business; making it difficult for the company to judge past/current performance or plan future improvements. Other problems identified in the current scenario include:
i. The travel agent wastes a lot of time recording booking information when there are more customers than he can handle at a time and this usually results in queuing and standing for a long time when buying tickets.
ii. Due to stress on the staff, over-booking for a limited number of seats is a daily problem.
iii. The head office and branch offices are at different locations. Contact must be made by each branch’s front-office to the head office for each customer’s enquiry in order to get the latest update on schedule, seat availability and other reservation-related information.
iv. There is also a physical limit to the reservation availability as each branch
only operates during certain hours and reservations can only be made on-the-spot. These limitations are not the only issues the company is currently facing.
v. There is lack of proper information for decision making. With the increased number of staff and agents in the company, staff nominal roll does not give easy and fast access to staff information like grade level, year of employment, salary e.t.c. Some staff may be omitted when such names are needed like in the case of staff promotion and salary payment due to loss or neglect of staff files.
Looking at these problems and limitations, it is clear that both the company and the customers require an integrated reservation system that is more efficient in information update and reservation handling and also easy to use. The web-based information system is developed to tackle the above problems.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to automate the manual procedures of reserving a bus ticket for any journey made ABC Transport, Anambra State. The web-based system is designed in a way where customers can book seats by themselves irrespective of location. To achieve the stated objective, the following specific objectives were laid out:
i. Provide a web-based bus ticket reservation function where a customer can buy bus ticket through the online system without a need to queue up at the counter to purchase a bus ticket.
ii. Enable customers to check the availability and types of busses online. Customer can check the time departure for every EUMT bus through the system.
iii. Provide easy bus ticket payment by obtaining a bank pin after payments is made to the various designated banks.
iv. Provide ability of customers to cancel their reservation.
v. Make the system secured by limiting user privileges in updating and canceling payment, route and vehicle records.