Intercity bus travel back on track post second Covid-wave, Ganesh Chaturthi driving demand

By: |
September 08, 2021 5:15 PM

The data projects over 7 lakh bus seats to be booked for the period, with Gujarat and Maharashtra witnessing a massive increase.

bus travel ganesh chaturthiIn Maharashtra, the Mumbai-Kolhapur and Pune-Nagpur routes are the most booked. (File)

A declining Covid-19 caseload and an inclination for travel have led to a sharp recovery in intercity bus travel on the majority of Indian routes. The upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival is now shaping travel demand, according to redBus data.

The data projects over 7 lakh bus seats to be booked for the period, with Gujarat and Maharashtra witnessing a massive increase. The bookings peaked a week before the festival, which begins on September 10, against five days last year, suggesting a greater certainty for travel.

The second Covid-19 wave has led to a behavioural shift, mainly due to a higher regard for safety standards, unrestricted travel across states, and a large vaccinated population. The redBus data projects around 63 per cent of overall bookings from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, implying a higher degree of digitisation.

redBus, the country’s largest online bus ticketing platform, said over 2,500 private bus operators and 21 state regional transport corporations will run 42,000 services along 53,600 routes during the upcoming festival.

The redBus data also indicates Hyderabad and Bengaluru to be India’s most sought-after route during Ganesh Chaturthi. Bengaluru is also driving the demand for travel across India.

Nearly 54 per cent of the bookings are for intra-state travel, while the remainder is for interstate travel. Air-conditioned buses make up 73 per cent of the bookings.

Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka are the five states with high travel demand during Ganesh Chaturthi.

The reopening of borders between states that see high bus travel, such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh is also driving the demand.

In Maharashtra, the Mumbai-Kolhapur and Pune-Nagpur routes are the most booked. Around 52 per cent of the travellers booked tickets for travel between Tier 1 and Tier 3 routes.

redBus CEO Prakash Sangam said a strong underlying demand for travel has emerged following the second Covid-19 wave. Sangam sees this trend continuing to the end of the festival season, with the peak during Dussehra and Diwali.

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