How IntrCity is disrupting mobility between Indian cities
The year 2020 was overshadowed by the novel coronavirus pandemic and the resultant nationwide lockdowns that brought economic activities, including travel demand, to a staggering halt. However, as the government gradually relaxed the restrictions, inter-city travel demand made a stellar recovery, with festive demand witnessing a huge surge.
Take this report, for instance. In November this year, the Indian Railways said that out of the 736 special trains that it ran for the pandemic-hit passengers, 327 had passengers in the waiting list, underscoring the major surge in demand. The average occupancies of these trains were as high as 92 percent.
The demand for bus services too is projected to see an uptick in post-COVID-19 times. An IntrCity survey shows that train and bus travellers are more optimistic about travelling and prefer them over flights, with hygiene, sanitisation and social distancing topping their list of concerns as against on-time travel earlier.
The numbers, along with India’s ambitious highway expansion programmes, mark the stage that is set for major private players in the intercity mobility space, especially MoTech companies trying to cash in on rising demand and formalise the largely unorganised sector.
Players like IntrCity RailYatri kick-started the tech revolution in the private surface transport sector much before the pandemic. Their state-of-the-art tech solutions have helped them resume the pace and efficiency at which they were operating before the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset. In fact, the company has embarked on an impressive expansion plan on its platforms and services to make India travel smartly and efficiently.
IntrCity is a train & bus intercity mobility network based in NCR. They operate a popular bus brand IntrCity SmartBus. These buses include features such as pre-sanitised private cabins, sanitisation, safe boarding lounges, on-board washroom and a travel insurance cover.
The company aims to increase its fleet size to 500 buses over the next six months and expand the intercity network to astern India as well.
A tech-tonic shift
Given the technology-first model of IntrCity, the country’s first fully integrated intercity mobility platform, the company has been preferred by consumers during the post-COVID-19 unlock period. While its use of analytics and tools like “Track Your Bus” propelled it into a leadership position in the sector, its SmartBus services have ensured travellers have a safe, hygienic & reliable travel mode while planning trips. The company uses IoT (Internet of Things) technologies in its platforms and has a powerful consumer app for pre-booking and other services for planning a journey. Operating on most popular train routes having a long waiting list in the country, IntrCity SmartBus offers an effective and rational alternative for transport.
Moreover, all buses are equipped with on-board washrooms, full Wi-Fi connectivity, automatic passenger information system and an on-board infotainment system. It has also installed CCTV cameras, GPS, an AI-enabled driver alert system besides a Bus Captain.
To ensure that travellers feel both safe and secure throughout their journey, all buses are tracked and monitored continuously from a central command center.
A safe ecosystem
At its SmartBus Lounges, the company has created air-conditioned waiting areas with Wi-Fi connectivity, charging points, abundant clean seating space, recliners, tea/coffee and clean toilets along with laptop desks for working professionals. This is similar to the boarding experience provided by airlines and is revolutionising intercity bus commuting.
IntrCity SmartBus also took the first movers’ advantage in implementing high levels of hygiene protocols for its services, a safe environment for female travellers, and creating an effective, reliable intercity mobility ecosystem.
Apart from private cabins, regular sanitisation and travel insurance covers, the company also undertook several measures at its lounges and offices. SmartBus lounges were told to ensure safe and social distancing-compliant boarding, a five-step cleaning and sanitation protocol, mandatory check-up of staff, and a KYC process for passengers, among other measures.
In a nutshell
The rise of tech-based players such as IntrCity has been a boon for the unorganised intercity mobility sector. The tweaks made by the company amid the challenging COVID-19 pandemic environment has ensured a hassle-free experience for travellers.