Fixing pain points in train travel with RailYatri led to the birth of IntrCity SmartBus
Players in the bus aggregation segment have, over the years, tried to bring sense to a chaotic market, with most platforms focusing on enabling easier ticket booking. However, Noida-based smart bus booking platformSmartBus goes beyond this by improving the overall customer experience.
IntrCity was not the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey for the founders Kapil Raizada and Manish Rathi. In 2012, they worked on RailYatri, a travel portal that lets users book train tickets.
Inspiration from RailYatri
“We initially felt that the biggest problem in train travel was that people were not getting a seat on the trains they wanted to travel,” says Kapil Raizada, Co-founder, IntrCity SmartBus. “We initially actually built the RailYatri app to help people find a train where they can get a seat.”
With this problem statement, Kapil and Manish started their entrepreneurship journey after stepping down from their previous job roles.
The duo launched RailYatri app in 2013, and from 2014 to 17, the company focused on train ticket booking.
Once a solution was created, the RailYatri team realised that it could add one more tool to address the waiting list problem—show customers the available bus tickets for the routes they have planned to travel.
“We tried to sell bus tickets to waitlisted train travellers and we realised that it was a tough sell,” he said.
He also shares that people would even postpone their journey but not opt for a bus. Further research showed that most travellers did not trust buses, especially on parameters such as sanitation and safety.
This discovery led the company to come up with its own solution—IntrCity SmartBus—in 2019.
“We have created a full stack technology platform that manages and controls the entire bus operations, in terms of buses, hygiene, cleanliness, their route, and their speed. We have invested in training the IntrCity SmartBus crew and have built a telematics connected plus platform where they get a lot of data about the vehicle throughout the journey to ensure that some of the basic promises of travel in terms of safety, reliability, and punctuality are consistently met,” shares Kapil.
IntrCity SmartBus leverages telematics and GPS to build a more trusted experience. IntrCity SmartBus also has washrooms and helpline centres.
IntrCity SmartBus currently operates over 250 buses across 750 cities in India. The business has achieved operational profitability.
According to Kapil, IntrCity SmartBus grew 2X last year and he expects it to grow 3X year-on-year with annualised run rate surpassing $50 million. Over the next three years, the company hopes to see a 15X to 20X increase in revenue.
“We already have about seven to eight months of data. So I'm fairly confident that if I look at the trend line, we would achieve about 300% growth in revenues year on year,” Kapil says.
The company also estimates that inter-city mobility will cross pre-COVID levels of 50 million daily travellers by the end of 2022.
“Now that we have already established a presence, we are now essentially focussing on trying to see how we can expand and make the offering available to more people in more places and enhance the experience by adding new tools,” Kapil concludes.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti