Now hop-on, hop-off like a backpacker with goMowgliAditya Bhushan Dwivedi
You wanted to go on a vacation but did not get leave from office. Three months later, you get the leave but not the tickets to travel. Finally, when you get both, and you visit the place, it fails to be memorable. It merely becomes a target on your checklist.
goMowgli, a travel startup, which claims to be India's first flexible bus network for travelers, is aiming to change that. By calling themselves a flexible bus network, what they mean is you can catch the bus anytime you want from any place in their network, and get off anytime, at any place. How does this works? Read on to find out.
The idea of goMowgli was born when Sunil (one of the Co-founders) was backpacking in New Zealand and realized that his experience was completely different compared to travelling in India. While in India it is easy to travel between two cities, it, however, becomes difficult when it came to the last mile connectivity. One can get off on the highway but what after that? How can one reach their offbeat destination which is much farther than the highway? There may or may not be a local transport. Once you manage to reach the location, you have no one to tell you more about the place.
goMowgli seems to solve all these problems by setting up a network of hop-on-hop-off tour bus service for travelers. Once a traveler buys a pass, he can travel whenever he wants within the validity period, which is generally 180 days. So you need not worry about leaves or bus tickets. They have a guide in each bus who helps you in coordinating your travel, giving you various options on stay and local places. They also help you plan your itinerary and not only give you the information but the much-needed tales about the places you are visiting.
goMowgli was started by four friends Sunil Abhilash, Anil Alur, Karan Cariappa and Megha. Talking about their first tour, Sunil says,
"None of us are from the travel industry and thus we carried no baggage when we started. We knew our dream and we started off by taking baby steps towards it – conducting day tours to the omnipresent yoga community in Mysore. The yogis were initially skeptical but three Romanian ladies showed up for the first free tour. We charmed them with our first tour around Mysore and won them over with our magical storytelling. For the next free tour, we were over booked on a 14-seater bus."
How it works
A customer with goMowgli can travel across Karnataka by hopping on and off a bus. He can buy a 19-day pass (also known as Masala Dose Pass) and then use that pass to travel across the state to complete all the 19 legs of the journey as and when they want in a period of 180 days. They can hop off impulsively, whenever or wherever just by informing the guide. To resume their journey, they have to call the customer care or send a mail to the team to book a seat on the day he wants to travel, as per the timetable listed by the company. And they can resume their journey.
At present, their revenue stream is only based on the passes they sell. And their marketing is mainly based on social media and word of mouth. However, one of the most interesting things they are doing is that they are inviting travel bloggers to travel with them and document their experiences to grow their network.
At present, their main target audience is foreigners, single women travelers and young couples and groups who generally rent a car and go off on their own. Talking about their challenges, Sunil says, "We will always be compared with local transport and people at times fail to understand why we charge Rs 1700 per day. The point is transport companies offer you only transport. We are a flexible tour company and offer some brilliant tours which local government buses will never be able to offer. Also, we take you to offbeat places and pick you up and drop you off from the closest point where you stay. You can stay at your friend’s place and we will pick you up from a nearby point. With a local transport, you need to do the long walk to the bus stand carrying your heavy backpack and the wet laundry from yesterday."
For people who are looking to startup, Sunil gives the following advice, "Remember life is a journey -- a journey of a thousand miles where you need to start with the firm belief that you will make it safely to the other end. Nobody is ever sure of the destination, let alone the path. However, we always instinctively happen to know the direction we ought to take. Take it, follow it and you will figure out the path as you go along. You will reach the destination you are meant to, if you search hard enough. And enjoy the bloody journey. In short, don’t wait for the perfect product. Just get started and you will find your way."