On the day of the journey, boarding an intercity bus is a huge pain point in India. “Bhaiya, bus kahan hai?” is common parlance when a traveler calls a bus operator. As with many other things, we Indians are known for our notoriety when it comes to punctuality and bus operators are no less Indian. On an average, the buses run late by 20 minutes and once you’re at your boarding point, you never know if you’ve missed the bus or it still hasn’t arrived.
Satya Padmanabham and Rajesh Mallipeddi, two techies with a cumulative experience of about 14 years with MNCs like Oracle, Yahoo! and Adobe called it quits and started up YourBus. YourBus, a Morpheus Gang company from the 7th batch is solving a problem which the founders faced themselves. “I’m a frequent traveler to Hyderabad and this problem of pick up points used to piss me off to no bounds!” exclaims Satya. This problem has a few root causes:
- The unorganized sector
- Inefficient Call Centers
- Lack of actual departure, delay information
YourBus came up with an ingenious solution where the passenger and the bus operator can know the exact location, delay information of the bus. Their software gathers daily passenger data, boarding points, route info from the bus operator automatically. Then, they run location based algorithms to inform passenger, operator periodically.
The passenger need not install any phone app or do any extra step. As long as one provides his or her mobile number while booking the ticket, they will be sent periodic SMSes. YourBus sends 3 strategic SMSes to the passenger:
- 1st SMS contains the bus vehicle number and tracking URL
- 2nd SMS is sent when the bus leaves the boarding point 2 stops prior to the passenger’s boarding point
- 3rd SMS is sent when the bus leaves the boarding point prior to the passenger’s boarding point
If the passenger wants to instantly find bus location, she can open the tracking Url in the SMS and find her bus on google maps.
For the bus operator: YourBus sends few daily, weekly MIS reports to the executive team. These reports could be used to refine, reschedule, monitor daily operations regarding actual departure times at the source city and actual arrival times at the destination city.
Adoption and Challenges
The duo has been at it for more than 6 months now and have started approaching bus operators aggressively. YourBus already has 5 paid clients and 4 trial customers. Few paid clients are: SVR travels, Orange travels, Seabird Tourists. There are more than 100 buses that have this service running and number is growing soon.
The fact that it is VAS, makes it a tad bit difficult for them to convince bus operators. But on the plus side, once the operator takes the trial, each of them is converted to a paying customer. The testimonials from the passengers have forced the operators to employ this service.
“In the case of ‘SVR travels’, the passenger calls regarding bus location info have dropped by 70% after we installed GPS units in their buses. Exec team of ‘Orange travels’ uses the daily report to keep the entire team on toes and questions the drivers/staff if there is any delay in any service” says a proud Rajesh.
The Road Ahead
YourBus is currently in talks with operators in Karnataka and Hyderabad. But the traction is gaining soon and there’s a humongous market to capture. “The plan is to reach 10,000 passengers a day in the next 6 months and we’re very much on target to achieve that.” says Satya signing off.
YourBus charges the bus operator on per bus per month and more details about them can be known here.