Over the first seven months of this calendar year, online bus bookings have almost tripled in the country. In January 2013, the number of online bus bookings stood at 0.25 million, while in July the number is 0.72 million bookings, registering a growth of 185 per cent, says a press release from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Another segment that has seen three-digit growth is online hotel booking, increasing from 0.06 million in January to 0.13 million in July.
Booking of railway tickets, too, has been robustly growing, from 4.70 million in January to 6.70 million bookings in July. In comparison to the bus, the laggard, ironically, is the airline, where online ticket booking saw a growth of 20 per cent, from 1.53 million bookings in January to 1.84 million bookings in July.
Not long ago, when the boss of redBus.in, Phanindra Sama, was talking about BOSS (Bus Operator Software Services), he mentioned how the anticipation was to sign up 100 operators in the first year. "But we ended up signing up over 350 operators! There was a virtuous cycle there. The more the inventory bus operators made available on our site, the more their sales were, as more inventory meant more choice of seats (window, aisle, group booking etc.,) to customers."
Although bus is the primary mode of transportation in India, and Internet, broadband, smart phones, tabs, credit cards and Internet banking spread like wildfire, only less than 10% of bus booking happens online, Karthi Easwaramoorthy, President and Co-founder of TicketGoose.com, had told YourStory, in, in an interview. "This is the biggest and foremost challenge of this industry, which is not just specific to us. Our bus market size is massive, but the addressed size so far is very less."