Extending a standardised, safe, secure and comfortable bus travel experience, IntrCity is connecting 100+ cities
“India is the right place to demonstrate social entrepreneurship because of the sheer number of problems that are waiting to be solved. Travel is essential, it’s the lifeline of a country. The economy can grow only if people have the ability to travel freely,” says Manish Rathi, Co-founder and CEO, IntrCity while talking about his efforts to standardise the largely unorganised bus service operations in India by leveraging technology and data intelligence with its 'SmartBus' service.
Manish is among the entrepreneurs whose stories are captured in Omidyar Network India’s newly launched video series titled ‘The Bold Ones - Innovating for the Next Half Billion’. A compilation of 11 short videos, the series captures power-packed stories of entrepreneurs who are building for the 500 million-plus Indians that are coming online for the first time via their mobile phones — a segment often referred to as the ‘Next Half Billion’ or NHB.
Launched in 2019, IntrCity is one of India’s top single-window platforms offering a wide spectrum of inter-city mobility services for passengers looking to travel by train and bus. Its flagship brand IntrCity SmartBus provides safe, trusted, and standardised travel options on India’s long-distance routes, operating across 630+ routes and serving nearly 1 lakh travelers every month.
The platform launched its first product, RailYatri, a smart user-friendly portal for passengers traveling by trains.
Disrupting intercity mobility with technology
“We are driven by the thought that how can we help people take a long distance journey? … We are ensuring a uniform experience for travellers, which is driven by tech, services and hospitality,” says Manish.
The platform uses analytics and tools like ‘Track Your Bus’ to ensure that the passengers have a safe, hygienic and reliable travel mode while planning trips. Operating on the most popular train routes that usually have a long waiting list, IntrCity SmartBus offers an effective and rational alternative for transport. Additionally, all buses are equipped with on-board washrooms, Wi-Fi connectivity, automatic passenger information systems, an on-board infotainment system, CCTV cameras, GPS, and an AI-enabled driver alert system besides the bus captain.
“We expect about 70 percent of India’s population to reside in about 20 percent towns in India over the next 10 years. The current transportation system will soon be choked, and from that perspective, [good and reliable] transportation means that enable people to move around freely are important,” adds Manish while talking about the imminent need for replacing or improving outdated and poorly maintained long-distance bus services in India.
“The next half billion is going to be the biggest consumer of services. They will be aspirational, will demand better and customised services. The true impact of these services will be measured when they reach these people,” says Manish while emphasising the need for people to build solutions to connect urban India to its towns and villages.
IntrCity also provides services such as SmartBus boarding lounges, private AC cabins, complimentary travel insurance and a KYC process for passengers, among other measures.
You can hear Manish talking about his challenges that he experienced while building his startup and what it takes to be successful here.