E-portals taking bus tourism to heart of India

Tuesday, 27 May 2008, 05:17 Hrs
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New Delhi: In an attempt to tap the increasing market of weekend vacationers, who prefer to travel by coach, online travel portal Ezeego1.com has tied up with bus tour operator redBus, to offer online spot booking on nearly 3,600 routes across the country.

According to Ezeego1, the profile of tourists in the country is changing and most vacationers from metros are weekend hoppers, looking for a quick getaway to the nearest holiday town or fusing short-haul business travel with leisure.

"We noticed that there are many customers who fly to a particular destination, and then take a Volvo bus to cover the last leg of the trip because there are no airports in some towns," said Charan Padmaraju, co-founder of redBus.

"Buses have greater penetration. This tie-up will help customers plan their trip in one go instead of getting off an airplane and rushing to book a bus ticket at the nearest bus-stop," he said.

RedBus, headquartered in Bangalore, offers passengers the flexibility in terms of choosing the type of bus (A/C, Volvo, non A/C or sleeper), seat preference, home delivery of tickets, and pick-up and drop points.

According to travel industry estimates, the current annual turnover of bus tourism is approximately 150 billion and travelling by bus is fast gaining popularity.

"People can now identify Volvo coaches and are willing to shell out a few hundred rupees more for air-conditioned noiseless and shock-resistant coaches, instead of the normal deluxe buses," Aditya Swaroop, the north India head of redBus, told IANS.

According to Swaroop, the improved highway and road network have led to smoother and safer bus rides.

The company books nearly 1,000 tickets a day countrywide, and records the maximum sale in the weekend, especially in the northern circuit.

In Delhi, the travel crowd comprises vacationers who take the bus to Jammu, Katra (the base camp en route to the Vaishno Devi shrine) and Kullu Friday night and take another shuttle home Monday night.

Gujarat, in contrast, has more business travellers and traders who commute intra-state between Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Baroda.

Bangalore has the migrants who come to work from Chennai, Hyderabad, Mangalore and even from Mumbai, and take the bus home on weekends.

"In fact, luxury buses are faster than trains on the Bangalore-Mumbai route. The train takes 23 hours, while buses reach Mumbai in 18 hours. And in terms of money, it is far cheaper than air or train travel because the lowest cut-off price for a luxury air-conditioned bus trip is 210 (on the Mumbai-Pune route)," said Mayank Bidawapak, the country marketing head of redBus.
Source: IANS
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