Pandemic has changed the way India travels. The modes of travel and transport are receiving diversified and buses are filling in a pretty important gap left by airlines and railways. Bus aggregator firms are shoring up fleets of buses to provide finish-to-finish standardized intercity travel expertise at economical rates. One such firm, zingbus, connects more than one hundred cities across states of Delhi (UT), Punjab, Haryana, Jammu (UT), HP, UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Gujarat by means of thousands of everyday connections. It has emerged as one of the preferred service providers on common routes. In an exclusive conversation with the TheSpuzz Online Prashant Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, zingbus talked about the present situation and trends of travel, what enables them to boost the utilization of assets and cater to more travellers per bus and more. Excerpts:
What are the factors behind the paradigm shift of customers towards intercity bus travel space?
In the previous decade, with railways suffering from a quintessential capacity crunch, and airlines, taxis and private automobiles nevertheless unaffordable for the majority of Indians, buses have emerged as the most common decision for intercity and interstate travel. During the pandemic instances, there has been a additional sharp boost in the roads which have been constructed in India. In metro cities like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai the intercity bus travel has come to be a more economical and fast solution for the passengers to attain from one spot to a further as the high quality of roads has enhanced a lot.
The pickup points of the buses are substantially close to to the localities for the passengers to hop on to the buses, this grants the passengers more freedom and a hassle-cost-free medium to commute safely and it delivers a comfy journey as effectively. The bus aggregators are also generating sure that the bus crew are totally vaccinated and the seats are sanitized. The buses now have more strong engines which take much less time for travelling which attracts more passengers as every person in these instances values time a lot and by saving a handful of hours it provides the passengers an additional added advantage.
How is Intercity bus travel space contributing to the complete travel Industry?
Intercity bus travel has raised the bar larger for the complete travel sector as it has now filled its deck up with all the facilities and amenities which are required on a typical basis for the contemporary traveller. It is adding up progressively with the aid of technologies and customer insights and aims to provide the most effective expertise of the journey to its passengers. Now, the contemporary customer can now avail the added benefits like comfort, quick buses, Centrally Air Conditioned buses, and so forth. at an economical cost for quick as effectively as extended routes. It has now provided the passengers a further solution or we can say a greater option to the passengers to travel as an alternative of the old signifies to commute. It now most effective serves the wants of the client and by serving them it has influenced the state transportation services to level up its services to meet the demands of these post-pandemic instances. Also, the improvement in high quality and length of the road network has made intercity bus travel faster and comfy. It has also brought untapped and unexplored routes and destinations on the travel map of India, connecting remote areas, and facilitating travel.
Thoughts on emergence of EV’s in bus segments? Will that be the future ahead for bus travel?
EV’s carry a enormous scope in the bus segment and devoid of any doubt we can say that the future is rise and shine for such buses. The zero emission mobility resolution delivers an eco eco-friendly way to commute, it also cuts down on the noise pollution which happens due to loud noise of the buses. The governments and other policies will be supporting its use in the future ahead for the buses in the EV segment.
What stays ahead for intercity bus travel space?
Electric, connected and dynamic is the future of intercity bus mobility. Startups and aggregators will lead the way towards a more client friendly and technologies driven method. Travelers will have access to secure, trusted and economical selections to travel. The next handful of years will see heavy consolidation of demand and provide in the sector. These phenomena are taking place across the globe and India being the largest bus industry will not be an exception.
As Intercity travel rises in demand, What sort of modifications are required to the program for secure travel?
With more people today employing buses each day, we have to have authorities to keep security about choose up and drop points. Beside this, we have to have definitions and observance of hygiene requirements in services across cities and states. Efforts for females security like a helpline quantity and verified crew members must be made mandatory for all bus services.
zingbus not too long ago raised 44.6 crores funding. How will the brand use the funding?
In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, zingbus has come to be one of the most common bus travel brands in the nation, connecting more than one hundred cities and towns across the nation. The freshly raised funds will be utilized to create technologies for the next leap of improvement in traveler expertise and expand the service to new geographies. The startup is also hiring across engineering, item, organization, and operations profiles.
Future Plans of zingbus.
We are committed to build technology promoting safety and affordability of services and create sustainable mobility infrastructure. We are running projects which would make bus travel much more attractive for customers like door-to-door connections, value-added services, and much more. We aim to deploy 250+ buses by the end of this year, and 1000+ buses by the end of next year.
Impact of Pandemic and how is zingbus bouncing back to its previous pace?
As we all know the pandemic has had a severe impact on the travel industry as a whole, during the lockdown period all the things were shut and the whole world came to a standstill. We see the pandemic as a black swan event for the entire intercity bus industry. It has upended this unorganized, highly fragmented, and mainly unbranded market. Pandemic has led to higher expectations of hygiene and safety from customers. Contactless, hassle-free boarding process, amongst other technology tools, has helped us fulfill this post-covid need beautifully. Once the traveler associates zingbus’s brand with safety, they prefer it over others. Simultaneously by building tools for audits, boarding, and demand management, we have been able to help struggling traditional fleet owners in coping with the operational challenges with minimum manpower investment from their side in a post lockdown world. This approach towards standardization and increasing digital reach has allowed us to grow almost 10% week on week since we resumed the services post-pandemic.
How is zingbus investing in technology to improve the intercity travel experience for travellers?
We have invested heavily in creating data platforms which help us generate useful customer insights and design the network of routes in a dynamic and intelligent manner. Feedback closure technology tools which allow us to convert customer reviews into solid actionable on a per trip, per seat basis has enabled us to become the highest rated bus service across OTA platforms. Our repeat numbers are more than 50% which is highly unusual for this industry.
We use machine learning and predictive algorithms to ensure maximum yield of our operator partners while remaining affordable for our travelers. The engine optimizes for seat miles being sold per bus per day which then reflects into a major jump in earnings per week for a bus as a unit. During the farmer protests during which we saw a heavy down-surge in demand, we have extensively utilized our inventory management module to make sure that most of our bus fleet was active.
“Safety” inside the coach has obviously been a huge concern for travelers post pandemic. We deployed multiple tool kits for the bus crew which allowed them to ensure that every trip was sanitized and all safety norms were followed every time. This not only ressured the faith of travelers in zingbus, but also helped in dissipating the taboo associated with travel.
Apart from delivering a superior travel experience and increasing the yield of buses, technology tools have helped our fleet operators run their buses with maximum transparency and minimum overheads. We have streamlined workflows for every stakeholder attached with bus operations to ensure that there is no redundancy of effort and a seamless flow of information is maintained.