It was on-demand taxi service that took the road and disrupted the taxi-booking market. Now, startups catering to bus service will be the next big thing in the transportation space. In other words, it looks like the system aiming to overhaul the commuting system is the shuttle bus service. Such services have already kicked off in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru and will soon enter other cities as well.
Launched in April this year by Deepanshu Malviya and Amit Singh, Shuttl is a bus aggregating platform offering shuttle bus service to its commuters in cities like Noida and Gurgaon. The platform claims to offer services such as good buses, reserved seats, flexibility in timing and economically viability.
Amit, Co-founder, Shuttl says, “We are targetting the segment of commuters that would like to avoid both high-priced taxi services and unreliable and crowded public transport. This shuttle bus service is slightly more expensive than the bus but much cheaper than the taxi.”
He adds that the effort is to address the daily commute problem faced by office goers. Carpooling, though a noble idea, failed to address the issue as it can’t carry more than four people.
The service is available via mobile app. There are three steps to book this service: register the account with the app, pick up a boarding point, drop point and time of commencement and get the riding pass.
The platform has aggregated around 250 buses and the number is increasing. The shuttle service plies on a total of 15 routes in Gurgaon and Noida, and is planning to add more high density routes in its service. It claims that its service is growing fast and expects to reach 10,000 rides a day in a couple of weeks. The minimum charge for using the service is Rs 20 which is deducted from the app wallet. The user can recharge the app wallet minimum of Rs 500 to Rs 10,000.
“We offer public experience via our services. Despite not spending much on marketing, more than two-thirds of our users are coming from organic channel. We are growing at the rate 30 per cent week on week,” says Amit.
He, however, adds that as the platform grows he will encounter more complexities. It is quite new and demands a lot of work around technology. Amit aims to build a robust technology as the product has to become more intelligent.
Market and competition
According to experts, the emerging bus service market is going to be larger than the taxi market, which is estimated at Rs 60, 000 crore. In the past few months, many players sensing the growth have entered the segment.
Shuttl has secured funding from Sequoia Capital and angel investors. At the same time, other players such as rBus and Zipgo have started spreading their wings in other cities.
Mumbai-based rBus, which recently raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from India Quotient and angel investor Anupam Mittal, will prove to be the biggest challenger to Shuttl as the latter introduces its service in Mumbai.
Zipgo which is currently offering its service in Bengaluru is also set to make the competition triangular as Shuttl and rBus move to the city or the former begins its service in Delhi and Mumbai.
Ola which is one of the most formidable cab aggregators is also preparing to invest Rs 120-150 crore to launch a bus service.
According to experts, with these players, the fledgling segment is going to be more vibrant and mature in coming days.
On the market, Amit says, “Owing to infinite demand, the possibility is very high in this segment. We are pioneer in the segment and building a high-end technology platform to offer our services. As the platform becomes more high-tech and mature, we’ll become more formidable in the segment.”