At the second day of Goafest 2016, Prakash Sangam, CEO, RedBus spoke on the topic--‘Story of Innovation in bus travel and ticketing industry. He spoke about how RedBus has grown in the last ten years, the kind of challenges they faced and how it has innovated to keep itself ahead of everyone.
He started the session by asking the audience, why people prefer to take buses. In response to which, he explained, “There are multiple halts in a city, which makes it easier for people to take this mode of transport when they are doing intra-city travels. Secondly, there is availability of tickets, even at the last minute and there are frequent departures all day.”
Highlighting some of the traveller’s concerns which RedBus has addressed over the years, he said, “Round trips were not possible, there was inefficient matching of demand and supply, the bus segment was extremely fragmented, plus booking a seat was extremely complex because of gender rules.”
Catering to all these difficulties, RedBus came out with solutions through innovation in their services, like one can give ratings for punctuality, staff behaviour and the introduction of the GPS system. “Emergence of smartphones has given the opportunity to re-imagine the role of RedBus as a true travel companion. It has not only led to increase in demand, more profit, but also given a boost to the consumer confidence,” he added.
Answering the question on whether low cost airlines could impact bus travel, Sangam points out, “With urbanisation, the need for travel will only go up. We have looked at similar markets on socio-economic parameters, like Malaysia and Brazil. There will be some impact but anyone who wants to travel at the last minute, and frequent travellers, will continue to take the bus.”
Commenting on the increasing trend of app based business models and its relevance to rural geographies he added, “The availability of cheaper smartphones is leading to higher penetration and lower cost of data access. Moreover, with the coming of Reliance Jio and NPCI's Unified Payment Interface, that is due for launch in a month, it will help to provide a level playing field for the urban and rural populations.”