Radiant Info Systems-owned BusIndia.com will soon let you book railway tickets. BusIndia founder and CEO Venu Myneni told Medianama that surface transport ministry had supported the facilitation of a deeper connection between IRCTC and the bus ticketing site.
Other travel sites also let you book train tickets, but you still need an IRCTC account to complete the transaction. It is not clear if BusIndia will let you book train tickets without an IRCTC account with a deeper connection. On that note it is worth noting that Competition Commission of India is investigaing IRCTC for alleged unfair trade practices while providing online train ticketing and others services.
BusIndia currently has 10 lakh registered users and lets you book bus tickets on 17 state owned bus services. It is already in talks to add two more RTCs very soon. Myneni claims that the service will cover 90% of the bus industry in India by the end of May this year.
Cabs and hotels: The company will soon add cab booking service so that people can arrange for a pick up at the bus stop. “We’re tying up with existing players for taxi bookings and we’ll partner with various players as each of them are strong in each market,” Myneni says.
BusIndia had added hotel booking to its site last year itself, but the category has become the focus point yet again this year with redBus also letting people book hotels. “We talked to the government and said that these are important for passengers. Then we added hotels last year. Margins for hotels varies from various aggregators to hotel chains. Bus tickets are no longer for low-end market and if you look at the hotel bookings that happen it is mostly for mid-level hotels. This is mainly because in smaller towns and cities we can’t find hotels like in cities. The thing we have noticed with the hotels business is that, even if margins are lower in smaller towns and cities, volumes are very high,” Myneni says.
The company is now concentrating on streamlining operations and adding more hotels in a, b and c level cities and towns. Radiant Info Systems had launched BusIndia last year in association with the Indian government in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
We will publish the full interview with BusIndia’s Venu Myneni on Monday.