busindiaThe Government of India is launching BusIndia.com as India’s first integrated national transport portal on October 31, 2013 through what appears to be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with Radiant Info Systems. BusIndia is already functional, and we noticed that the website has been in operation since 2009, so a launch announcement for 2013 is quite strange.  (Hat tip: NextBigWhat)

The company had told Business Line that it plans to raise Rs 200 crores from private equity funds, claiming to currently sell about 50,000 tickets daily, and revenues of about Rs 100 crore. Venu Myneni, Chairman & CEO of Radiant Info Systems, had said then that the portal also plans to start selling flight tickets and also set up offline counters in Government including post offices and places like shopping malls. At present, BusIndia currently offers bus and hotel booking services. Other players in the online bus ticketing segment include redBus, Paytm, goibibo, among others.

Why a national transport portal?

The idea behind aggregating offline services online is to make them available to customers in an easy and convenient manner. Why is the government just launching portals, instead of releasing its API so the services can be plugged into multiple, existing portals and services. The idea should be to increase passengers, and wider distribution would help. Also, if this portal does succeed, will it be able to take the load? We’re reminded of IRCTC, which is known to have had constant problems in handling the volume of traffic to its website. Wouldn’t it be easier for the government to just release the API?

We’re also reminded of a government initiative that apparently didn’t get off the ground: the national jobs portal. It was proposed during the budget of 2009-10, and we still haven’t seen anything yet.