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‘IntrCity’s SmartBus is on an impressive growth trajectory, with expectations of a yoy increase of over 300%’

Convergence of technology and growing network of quality highways is redefining inter-city bus travel in the country. The online bus market is projected to reach 10 per cent but given the right eco-system could potentially breach the 25-per cent-mark too. Leading the transformation is IntrCity SmartBus, a tech-driven mobility brand and aggregator revolutionising the bus travel experience. Manish Rathi, CEO and CoFounder, IntrCity SmartBus, in an interaction with Shayan Mullick shares insights into the market and opportunity.

Q. How big is the overall transportation economy and the share of bus transport in it?
A. The Indian transportation sector is crucial to the Indian economy, with a contribution of around 4.9% to the country’s GDP in 2019-20. This industry has immense potential to continue developing and contributing to the country’s economic growth. In terms of inter-city travel, buses are a popular mode of transportation in India. The vast majority of long-distance travellers in India use buses as their primary mode of transportation.

The inter-city mobility market in India is dominated by bus travel, accounting for around 66% of domestic tourist visits, according to a 2019 report by the Ministry of Tourism. Buses provide an affordable and accessible mode of transportation, particularly in remote areas where other modes of transportation may not be available.

What kind of growth opportunity this segment of travel presents?
A. The bus segment for travel presents significant growth potential as intercity buses have gained the trust of their customers by offering efficient transportation services. IntrCity recently released a report on the Outstation Bus Market in India, which revealed that the online bus market in the country is projected to reach 10%. With a transformation in customer behavior and bus operator business practices, this potential could increase significantly to 25%.The bus industry has made significant strides in enhancing the customer experience by providing comfortable, air-conditioned buses with ample legroom, on-board entertainment, and other amenities.

With the Indian government focusing on making world-class road and highway infrastructure in India, there is immense potential for growth of inter/intra city travel. The Indian government’s recent budget allocation towards road travel has led to a surge in demand for co-branded buses. This demand is bolstered by the rapid growth rate of 8% CAGR over FY20-25 for Indian national highways infrastructure, which outpaces railway track lengths and airports, making it the fastest-growing supporting infrastructure for outstation travel.

Private pre-bookable co-branded buses are proving to be the most cost-effective option, with prices ranging from INR 1-3 per km. With increased connectivity to more cities, road transportation emerges as a highly economical option, backed by the fastest-growing infrastructure.

Q. What are key USPs of InterCity SmartBus?
A. IntrCity SmartBus has embraced an asset-light aggregator model that is changing the way people view bus travel, elevating it to a premium alternative to trains. With its innovative suite of applications, IntrCity SmartBus has emerged as a technology-driven mobility brand that is leading the way in revolutionising the bus travel experience. The company’s cutting-edge applications, including the Operator Dashboard, Crew App, Consumer Platform, and IOT-based Fleet Analytics, ensure that every aspect of the journey is seamlessly managed, providing real-time tracking, accurate ETA of destinations.

Passengers can enjoy the privacy and luxury of private cabins with flat beds, while Wi-Fi-enabled AC lounges at boarding points offer a place to relax and recharge, in-built washrooms with food being given on their tables.

IntrCity SmartBus is pioneering a revolutionary concept with the introduction of IntrCity SmartBus Lounges to provide passengers with a secure and comfortable boarding experience. These lounges offer a plethora of amenities, including air-conditioned waiting areas with fast Wi-Fi, charging ports, spacious and hygienic seating arrangements, recliners, hot tea/coffee, and immaculate washrooms.

Q. How is the growth forecast for the current year?
A. IntrCity’s SmartBus is on an impressive growth trajectory, with expectations of a year-over-year increase of over 300% by 2023. In the next five years, the company aims to revolutionise conventional bus travel by converting over 5,000 buses into a “Connected SmartBus Network” utilising cutting-edge technological advancements from Mobility Platform.

IntrCity SmartBus has set its sights on providing reliable and accessible mobility solutions to the previously unexplored regions, thereby bringing forth a new era of convenience and connectivity. IntrCity SmartBus will expand its current routes across North, South, and West India by adding new lines to its network.

By establishing IntrCity SmartBuses as a dependable, secure, and practical mode of transit, connecting Tier-II and III cities with neighbouring metro areas or industrial hubs will become a seamless task.

Q. Does the service also fit in the ecosystem of tourism travel, booking by agents, commissions etc.?
A. Yes, IntrCity’s service can fit within the ecosystem of tourism travel, bookings by agents, and commissions. IntrCity offers a convenient and reliable mode of transportation for tourists and travellers. Travel agents can collaborate with IntrCity to book bus tickets for their clients and earn commissions. IntrCity’s technology and features, such as real-time tracking, comfortable buses, and amenities, make it an attractive option for tourists and travel agents alike.

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