New technological trends driving the Bus mobility sector
CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Manish Rathi, co-founder, IntrCity
1. Do you think tech is one of the major contributors in driving the mobility sector in India?
The evolution of technology has significantly altered mobility over time. Advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence have played a crucial role in revolutionizing the present and future of the mobility sector. Specifically for the inter-cities buses, the emergence of branded and organized players with technology has completely changed the ecosystem, particularly for inter-city travel. We have seen a 360 degree turn in terms of everything being digitized now- seat bookings, service quality, customer experience, vehicle monitoring and real-time tracking.
Inter-city buses are an essential enabler for economic growth, with a $30 billion market that serves over 40 million passengers daily. The government’s focus on boosting road travel is revealed by the aggressive expansion of highways and the introduction of new expressway expansion plans, like the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.
2. Please highlight some new challenges you faced in the mobility sector?
The genesis of IntrCity was to solve the problem of inter-city mobility, where trains were a preferred mode of transportation but were not available on most days at short notice. While highway expansion has improved road travel, inter-city buses were not the first choice of travelers. However, a lot has changed in the last 3 years where the emergence of our platform has made inter-city buses part of the primary consideration set of various travelers on the top 30 routes in the country. Some of the recent challenges we are solving is to help bus operators from across the country to deploy fleets anywhere in the country based on the inter-city mobility demand on that route. Our technology along with the MoRTH initiative of One Nation One Permit has made it easy for an operator to start services on a new route.
The bus operators did not have one integrated platform to manage demand as well as manage their operation while IntrCity mobility platform does that for them now. One of the new challenges we are trying to solve and we will soon digitize is their vehicle overall performance dashboard across fuel, driver behavior, business performance, break-down and help them get better returns on every vehicle.
We are also working on luggage tagging where every luggage is tagged to a PNR and handed over only after KYC validation. Similarly there are use-cases around single click booking for regular travelers where they block their seat from the app and pay inside the bus.
3. How AI is playing a pivotal role in boosting IntrCity SmartBus’s operations in the mobility sector?
Adoption of smart technology has the potential to revolutionize the mobility industry and change the way we travel. Our customers benefit significantly from digital transformation happening in the industry. With the use of cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) IntrCity’s travelers enjoy an efficient and comfortable journey experience.
Online booking and journey management from App:
The pandemic emphasized the importance of touchless technology. Gen Y & Z travelers not only book a ticket, view the post-booking experience online but also share service feedback immediately. With features like ‘Where is your Bus’, ’Track your boarding time’ track the bus real time, and their loved ones traveling on the bus. This capability has increased the safety of intercity travel for solo female and senior citizens.
Enhanced security with live tracking feature: With GPS tracking enabled on every SmartBus, travelers can track the movement of the bus and their loved ones traveling on the bus—in real-time. This feature has made inter-city mobility even safer for women and senior citizens traveling alone.
Insights and Reports enable operators to manage the journey better: Operators who adopt SmartBus Mobility technology have an advantage over other bus operators since they view analytical reports with evaluation of vehicle performance and determining operational efficiency and effectiveness on the serviced route. It’s a real-time, multi-dimensional, and comprehensive report that measures service standards, including vehicle and driver performance, as well as vehicle maintenance. The report serves as a dashboard for the operator, allowing them to enhance performance indicators such as service cost, fuel consumption, fleet utilization, service output per bus, daily revenues, maintenance expenditure, real-time and historical data comparison and analysis, and so on.
Forecasting Upkeep: Each SmartBus is equipped with a device that anticipates potential problems and offers fixes, helping to minimize unneeded depot stops and unscheduled downtime. This enables them to better optimize their assets, run more effective operations, and save up to 50% on maintenance and repair costs.
4. New technological trends you have noticed in the Bus mobility sector.
In the mobility industry, there are ongoing patterns from prior years. Following the COVID19 breakout hygiene, one of the key problems in the bus mobility sector emerged and became a trend. To ascertain customer sentiments and preferences around travel, we therefore carried out a thorough consumer survey during COVID-19 and acted swiftly upon the results. We developed the Safe+ project, which is now available on all buses, and put tight safety regulations, protections, and policies in place. We have bus lounges
where all hygienic and sanitization procedures are followed, as well as social distance.IntrCity also introduced inbuilt washrooms to ensure the hygiene of the people. Players who promise all of these actions are acquiring market share more quickly.
The transportation industry has made progress in its journey of innovation and evolution thanks to technological advancements. AI is one such modern technology that has benefited the industry. The applications of AI in transportation support the market’s growth and the adoption of the technology by businesses. Smart connectivity has been made possible by AI and ML, which reduces the need for time, effort, fuel, and money while traveling within cities. It can keep an eye on traffic, efficiently navigate the roads, and choose the quickest/best route. Additionally, it can provide commuters with on-demand transportation availability and real-time updates of the movement of buses which can also help your loved ones to track your position, enhancing their bus travel experience.
5. Plans for any future developments on technology sector in the IntrCity SmartBus
We have been working on technology advancements across three primary pillars – customer facing, operator facing and fleet management and have been working on digitizing every part of the One of the recent advancements we are working on is in the area of luggage tagging where every luggage is tagged to a PNR and handed over only after KYC validation. Similarly there are use-cases around single click booking for regular travelers where they block their seat and pay inside the bus.
Operators today rely on IntrCity for decision making and one of the use-cases we will soon digitize is their vehicle overall performance dashboard across fuel, driver behavior, business performance, break-down and help them get better returns on every vehicle.