IntrCity to take forward SmartBus journey, aims to make buses a preferred choice for inter-city travelers | The Financial Express

IntrCity to take forward SmartBus journey, aims to make buses a preferred choice for inter-city travelers

In an exclusive conversation with Express Mobility, Kapil Raizada, Co-founder, IntrCity, talks about the company’s journey so far and future plans.

IntrCity to take forward SmartBus journey, aims to make buses a preferred choice for inter-city travelers
Kapil Raizada, Co-founder, IntrCity SmartBus

Noida-based bus booking platform IntrCity aims to convert ordinary buses to smart buses with telematics technology in a bid to elevate passenger journey and offer a smarter, safer and more experiential travel experience.

In an exclusive conversation with Express Mobility, Kapil Raizada, Co-founder, IntrCity, talks about the company’s journey so far and future plans.

Kapil recalls that when SmartBus was launched, the largest problem was that most inter-city travelers preferred trains over buses as trains were always pre-booked while buses on the contrary were going 65-70 percent filled. 

The IntrCity SmartBus was launched to make the inter-city bus a preferred choice of consumers and one of our recently concluded surveys established consumers who traveled by IntrCity SmartBus did make the bus their preferred choice.

What sets IntrCity apart from the competition?

Every IntrCity SmartBus is cloud-connected and equipped with proprietary telematics technology, which provides real-time data to the 24×7 command center. The platform further allows all customer interfacing features to leverage the data and provide solutions in the form of tracking your bus, ETA at the destination, share location with family, just to name a few.

The SmartBus app allows passengers to book tickets online, track buses in real-time, get destination ETAs, and pre-order food at the pit stop, in addition to in-bus amenities such as sleeper buses, onboard washrooms, and trained “SmartBus Captains.” 

Aside from that, the app includes innovative features, such as special seat options for extra-tall passengers, pregnant women or women traveling with infants, private cabins and extra spacious seating areas for plus-size passengers.

By digitising India’s traditional small and medium-sized bus operators, the brand has changed the entire intercity mobility ecosystem. Bus operators benefit from a variety of services provided by the brand, including efficient bus performance management, dynamic pricing and analytical and insightful reports. The intelligent data helps the operators evaluate vehicle performance and determine operational efficiency and effectiveness over the serviced route.

What are your expansion plans?

We are currently present in 14 states and may add a couple more states but most of the additions will happen in these 14 states across North, South and West India. 

The top IntrCity SmartBus routes are Delhi-Lucknow-Delhi, Delhi-Amritsar-Delhi, Bangalore-Hyderabad-Bangalore, Bangalore-Chennai-Bangalore, Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai,  and Delhi- Himachal – Delhi. We currently cover over 228 cities in 14 states. 

Our major focus right now is going deeper into the existing routes which have been operating profitably and hence are ready for further scale. 

We are executing a mix of deeper penetration in routes that we are already active in along with adding a few new routes. Expanding to newer routes in the South, North, and West, with plans to begin operations in the East soon. The future road map is ambitious and IntrCity SmartBus intends to boost its fleet to 2,000 buses by 2025. 

What is the kind of investment plan IntrCity is looking at?

We are fortunate to be backed by prominent investors who are extremely excited about the segment. They include Nandan Nilekani family fund (NRJN), Samsung Venture Investment, Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures and Helion Venture Partners. 

We have raised around $30 million, so far. In 2020, IntrCity raised Rs 100 crore in a round led by Infosys’ non-executive chairman, Nandan Nilekani. We are in discussions with both existing investors and new investors to raise funds and the same will be announced as it happens.

How is IntrCity SmartBus solving consumer problems? 

The following features can be used to understand IntrCity differentiation and leadership:

Mobility Technology platform powers its proprietary GDS platform, partner platform, crew app for captains, agent platform, IoT-based telematics and consumer app.

Safety aspects like providing CCTV, Wifi connected buses, real-time bus tracking, safe lounges for boarding.

Personalised assistance– Our staff manages the entire service experience. We have bus captains on the bus, boarding staff for pre-boarding assistance and booking desks at lounges if you decide to walk in directly.

We have in-bus washrooms for a safe, smooth and hygienic experience.

All the Buses are constantly monitored from a 24X7 central command center 

What prompted you to survey the Indian market and how does IntrCity plan on addressing the results?

The country vaccinated itself and traveler confidence grew last year, especially from July’21 onwards, we observed that inter-city mobility has gained momentum once again. 

Seeing this high demand for intercity bus travel, we felt it was a great time to understand Indian travelers’ pulse, their needs and wants during bus travel to completely focus and uplift the experiential journey the brand offers. 

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First published on: 29-10-2022 at 15:46 IST