The company expects this trend to continue further amid growing economic activities, upcoming festive season and reopening of colleges
NEW DELHI :
Online bus ticketing platform redBus witnessed over 50% jump in the traffic in October, as covid-induced restrictions were eased gradually, enabling inter-state mobility for individuals.
“Things have been looking up in last few weeks, especially from the end of August, when Unlock 4.0 enabled states to open up a lot of borders. Overall, more than 50% of traffic has come back on our platform, as of first week of October (compared with what it was in February). In states such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, we are seeing traffic of more than 50% despite a large number of people still working from home," said Prakash Sangam, Chief Executive Officer at redBus. In February, there were 2.2 lakh transactions per day.
He expects this trend to continue further amid growing economic activities, upcoming festive season and reopening of colleges. Besides, in some regions, people are choosing buses since rail services are limited.
“Business has come back in a big way in the north. Some operators in Kolkata have started doing more business now, than what they were doing in the pre-covid days because there is a need for travel and trains are limited. (That’s why) people are taking buses," Sangam told Mint in an interview.
However, some travel restrictions remain in states such as Tamil Nadu, despite Unlock 5.0 guidelines coming into force. Latest data showed that in Tamil Nadu, less than 10% of the private bus operators’ inventory is back on the road. The implementation of the stringent nationwide lockdown had suspended inter-state movement of individuals to curb the covid-19 spread. Despite directive from the Centre on opening up the economic activities from June, restrictions on movement were not lifted in some districts and states.
According to the redBus data, during July-October, there has been a lot of movement from tier two and tier three cities. Before covid-19 outbreak, about two-thirds of tickets booked on the platform were for to-and-from towns with a population of less than 1 million. “Now, this number has risen to 85% (as of September) and majority of which are travelling to metros cities," Sangam said, adding that there is a clear trend of migration to the metros.
Similarly, there has been a surge in one-way travel. Return trips have now reduced to 20% as compared to 30% in the pre-covid days.
According to Sangam, the platform is witnessing massive adoption of online booking as transactions by new customers have jumped 94% during July-September, from February. A survey conducted by the company showed that fear of contagion is one of the key drivers leading the shift towards online transactions.