redBus goes native with mobile app; First impressions
Since its launch in 2006, redBus has been the primary site for online bus ticketing in India.
After having served crores of customers online, the company launched a mobile website last year. The mobile site was a hit with the rising number of users consuming the internet on mobile devices; redBus reported a rapid increase in mobile usage over the last year.
To further its mobile presence, redBus recently launched its mobile apps for the Android and Windows platform.
With this launch, redBus aims at providing its smartphone users with a better user experience and added features, said Alok Goel, the Chief Products Officer at redBus.
Mobile site experience vs. app - hardly a difference today
The redBus web application is a simple and very functional ticket reservation app. Most of the online features are optimized for mobile viewing, such as bus listing, sorting, filters, real time seat selection and an integrated payment system.
The mobile app offers the same set of features, though with a richer UI, slightly different screen views and transitions.
However, the v1.0 of the app does not offer any significant benefits over the mobile web site. It does, however, increase visibility. Users can find the redBus app on the Google Play or Windows Phone 8 stores in addition to using the mobile site. It also adds to redBus brand identity of being a front runner with technology.
Forward thinking - Integrating native features
Alok shared that redBus has plans to integrate more native features on the app, and roll out quick upgrades.
While he didn’t confirm what the added features in future apps could be, here are some we’d love to see:
1) Bus tracking on maps - Allow a user to open the app when traveling to find where exactly he is on a map view and can show further travel details such as ETAs etc.
2) Push notifications - redBus could send notifications on bus position before boarding, arrival details for a friend who has shared his itinerary, etc.
3) Secure wallet integration - The app can significantly reduce payment time if it can integrate with a mobile banking or wallet app and let users book tickets without the hassle of entering details on a small screen.
Can it do an Ola?
The Olacabs app really leveraged the power of their smartphone with their one touch taxi reservation system and in a way, set the benchmark for what a mobile app should be for a travels business.
The v1.0 redBus app is clearly a bet for the future strategy. We’ll keep a watch at features they add in the coming days and hope they make our bus experience better and simpler.