By Sanjeev Babbar
After China, India is the second largest bus market and buses are an integral part of mass mobility. With 90,000 to 1,00,000 units sold per annum, 95 percent of the buses – public and private – are diesel powered. As cities are improving their urban planning to accommodate growing population, the bus market is set for a substantial boom.
Buses were by-products of trucks and were built on a truck chassis. With development in the bus infrastructure and the growth aided by the bus market, this mode of transport boosted supply chains across the country and significantly employed the blue-collar workforce.
As the segment started developing, the quality of the bus body improved, technological advancements upgraded the mode of transport.
Sprawling urban landscapes are fast changing with upgrades of smart cities. The inter-city domestic bus transport is all up for massive growth. Backed with technology, the bus segment is already witnessing a much-needed structural change in how India chooses to travel.
The future is an app-connected ecosystem with new-age fittings and machine parts enabling the buses to take over the transport ecosystem. In the last two years, COVID-19 pandemic dampened the growth of the automotive industry due to the lockdown. The manufacturing and transportation industries collapsed worldwide. Since then, the development of the automotive sector is directly in proportion to the growth of electric vehicles. Diesel-based buses are fast being replaced by electric buses used for public transport in major cities.
When compared to 2021, the bus segment grew over three-fold. Realising the dependence on oil imports and the pollution emitted by buses, state governments have started upgrading to electric buses.
Lack of standardisation
However, in today’s world of online aggregators like Redbus making digital bus bookings simpler, more travellers feel that there is a lack of standardisation in terms of speed, punctuality, hygiene of the bus and many more.
However, in the post Covid-19 world, where aspects such as the cleanliness cannot be ignored, the bus sector is revamping itself. Demand is growing more than before as private bus providers have solidified the safety factor for women travellers; there is real-time tracking, app bookings and innovative technology being used in the infrastructure of buses to make it a seamless experience for travellers.
As the target market for buses will continue to remain price sensitive, customers’ expectation for a hassle free, safe and punctual service is definitely expected to grow and bus providers have to heed to this inorder to be successful in the business.
The author is Sanjeev Babbar, Director, JCBL.
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