Tech and data will drive the future of Indian inter-city bus travel sector

The future of modern mobility has rapidly been shifting towards more sustainable and eco-friendlier modes. This shift is visible in both the critical components of the mobility industry – the manufacturing side and the operations side. To be top tier performers in the mobility industry, companies are making efforts to bring changes in the vehicles as well as the operators are exploring new and creative ways for a sustainable yet personalized commute.

Manufacturing vehicles for the future requires cutting-edge technology and concepts which conjointly creates an integral part of the mobility industry leading to smart city build-up and decarbonization goals achievement. When it comes to the inter-city bus travel industry, the bar is set high where the concept and its proper execution together is required to contribute to creation of a more sustainable future. Global urban mobility has seen tremendous transformation in the past few years, diminishing the carbon footprint of the world. However, the Indian intercity market which has been largely stuck following the traditional ways of travelling is only now adopting transformation. A recent heartening example of this transformation is the introduction of e-bus service by state-owned BMTC in Bengaluru.

Technology Implementation – Future of Indian intercity bus services!
Buses are the most reliable and affordable mode of transportation in India bringing easy commutes to people all around the nation. The intercity bus market of India is estimated to be $15 billion, growing and transforming the way India rides. Intercity buses are not just the mode of transformation in India, but also provide livelihoods to millions of Indians to help them sustain themselves in this rapidly growing society.

Moreover, with the fast-changing landscape, the intercity bus industry is aiming high to improve the level of commute with sustainability. Any future success lies in the robust foundation and formation of planning with technical implementation. New-age companies are equipped with a connected app-ecosystem, which helps to run the services smoothly through real-time data and manage daily operations easier than before.

People choose to ride in buses for a plethora of reasons in India, and the swift ways of commute can be guaranteed through the mixing of technologies. The shift towards developing new autonomous and connected vehicles will help in increasing the efficiency and reliability of the intercity bus industry in India.

What is next?
There is no doubt that technology has been a great asset for the shift in the mobility industry positively affecting both the intercity and intracity segments. However, the growth structure of the mobility industry has seen a lesser success rate even after providing flexible means of commute.

The new-age system needs faster, reliable, affordable, and digitally savvy commuter systems to go with new models of travel. New age intercity bus operators have been striving to meet the demand of its targeted consumers. Serving them with the best of technology and comfort, they act as the mediator for providing the consumers with the most reliable and efficient facilitator services in intercity and intracity transportation.

India has a variety of consumers (travellers) across the board highly diversified in terms of age, education, lifestyle and cost-friendly and the need surges amongst geographical regions. It is possible to serve such diverse needs through a scalable delivery model with excellence in key segments.

The need for comfort travel plays a significant role when a commuter is travelling from say Delhi to Chandigarh at any hour of the day and ends up gaining preferable options as per the need.

Data does it – Core factors to focus on!
Understanding the needs of the customers will continue to be the mainstay for the industry. Not every commuter who travels in a bus operates from a similar thought process. The needs and wants of travellers are as diverse as their demographics. Understanding their idea of need and providing them with the service which fulfills that need is crucial. Tools like real-time tracking, alerts, financial aid, asset utilization, scheduling and management are essential for the operators. Apart from these, factors like availability, timeliness, cleanliness, hygiene, and comfort are always taken into consideration for a satisfying journey. Analysis of big data routinely throws insights which helps us to tailor the need-service matrix. The bus operators will continue to depend on the insights derived from such data.

To sum it up, the landscape of intercity travel in India is brewing to be interesting and is at a challenging juncture. While there are some trials and errors, the opportunity to thrive and create a change is huge. Intercity bus travel, equipped with technology and buoyed by the huge opportunity, is set to witness a much-needed structural change in how India chooses to travel. In the immediate future, the focus will be on differentiators that will create success stories in the industry.

The writer is Co-Founder & CTO, zingbus.

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