gogoBus is using tech to improve the intercity bus travel experience
India is one of the largest bus travel markets in the world where millions of people use buses daily to commute. Trains do not reach every corner, so buses are the primary and most used medium of travel. There are several bus booking platforms in the country where gogoBus stands out by offering a good and safe bus travel experience. gogoBus looks like an online platform for booking intercity buses but there is more to it. It claims to be India’s safest premium intercity bus service. gogoBus maintains safety, comfort, and convenience. It uses technology to improve the overall experience. gogobus was founded back in 2019 by Amit Gupta and Avinash Bagri. The company also raised Seed round by ixigo and 2 individuals back in March 2020. Recently, I have an interaction with Amit Gupta, co-founder gogoBus where I tried to understand what gogoBus is planning for the future.
Can you give a brief idea of your business?
gogoBus is TAAS based bus mobility platform in which our focus is on democratizing access of end-to-end technology to fleet owners while connecting consumers across India. Our platform is made on a sensible and intelligent route engine, which suggests the simplest route basis – demographics data, alternate available mobility mode, and frequency.
Ours is a very simple business model where we partner with fleet owners and empower them with our application in which they manage their daily bookings & PnL with real-time tracking of their vehicle. We also enable operators to receive feedback from customers on a real-time basis to solve the problem of information asymmetry that is prevalent across the industry.
The problem of information asymmetry has been one of the major reasons for unsatisfactory customer experiences, which we intend to solve through technology.
How is gogoBus different from other rival platforms?
gogoBus platform works in a two-way marketplace model, which is solving mobility challenges on both the demand and supply sides through AI-based technology solutions. Our platform complements existing technology solutions available in the market, which largely differentiates us.
You partner with different tour operators. Then how do you maintain bus quality?
Our exclusively created curation process ensures not only the best operators join our platform but also brings in a quality fleet to cater to the travel needs of Bharat. Our stringent checklist-based vehicle-on-boarding criteria ensure the sub-optimal quality vehicles are rejected in the first instance. Along with that, we have a regular audit process, which further assists us in maintaining the quality of assets at a level befitting customer expectations.
How do you maintain the safety and security of passengers?
The safety and security of passengers are the critical elements of any shared mobility platform, and we have been very particular about this since inception. Features like GPS tracking, sharing your ride, and SOS have been available on our app since then. GPS has been a mandatory requirement for all buses on our platform, and we ensure 100% uptime of these GPS feed on our system.
Along with this we also ensure that fleet available on our platform is regularly monitored through the central command center.
How are you using technology to improve the travel experience of your customers?
Waiting for the bus on road is still a very common issue that the customers face, with GPS-based location technology, this issue gets resolved. Adaptation to technology platforms like ours makes the life of a traveler less complicated. Ease of booking, tracking, and cancellation also provides them with an enhanced travel experience.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business?
We commenced operations in January 2020 just before the pandemic struck the country. It was a situation, we never planned for, however, we quickly re-aligned our strategy going forward. Today, in hindsight we can say that Covid-19 induced lockdown was a blessing in disguise when it gave us an opportunity to pivot our model from being a full-stack operation service company to becoming product first TAAS mobility platform.
Can you give us an idea of how the intercity bus travel market is?
The intercity bus mobility market in India is huge, wherein almost 60% of Indians use buses to reach their destinations daily. The market is highly unstructured and still relies on the manual pen-paper process leading to a high level of information asymmetry which eventually leads to poor customer experience across the value chain.
Also because of the limited availability of Demand-Supply data, the bus fleet is polarised on some routes, adversely affecting the demand.
How is your growth so far?
At present we are connecting 100+ cities in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country and currently, we have 30+ operators, 100+ buses with 150+ daily trips on our platform. We are growing at >50% M-O-M.
What are your plans for the year 2022?
In the coming year we want to onboard more than 200 buses and commence our operations in the southern and North-Eastern parts of the country. As the country is moving towards electrification, we are also in talks with OEMs to launch electric buses and start operation on designated routes.