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Online bookers court hinterland bus rides

Companies these days are pioneering a revolution on the roads, with websites that help you book bus-tickets at the click of a mouse, reports Ruchi Hajela.

business Updated: Nov 01, 2007 23:17 IST
Ruchi Hajela

Want to travel to Jaipur from Delhi or Bangalore to Hyderabad? Eager start-up companies are pioneering a revolution on the roads, with websites that help you book bus-tickets at the click of a mouse. Like in the case of airline-driven travel portals, these involves search technologies and an entrepreneurial drive that helps offline deliveries.



During a Diwali break two years ago in Bangalore, Phanindra Sarma, who used to be with micro-chip maker Texas Instruments, struggled in a traffic jam to get a ticket to reach his hometown. Thanks to that trouble, he founded redBus.in, for which he joined hands with former IBM-mer Sudhakar Paspunuri and Honeywell executive Charan Padmaraju.



The company now has tie-ups with more than 170 bus partners across India, connecting farflung places that include small dots on the maps like Chittorgarh, Fatehpur and Davangere.



It sells over 500 tickets a day earning revenues from partnership commissions. Like in the case of airline bookings, a printout serves as the ticket. You can select your seat online and also get tickets home delivered by paying an extra Rs 20.



"Those who do not have a credit card can also pay once the ticket is home delivered," Mayank Bidwatka, head of marketing at Red Bus, told

Hindustan Times

.



For those residing in Western India, Ticketvala.com owned by Travis Internet Private Limited, a company funded by Footprint Ventures and set up by travel industry professionals, offers a load of options. These include add-ons such as hotel and car reservations, and even a phone-in option for destinations not listed on the site.



"The share of bus bookings in the total online booking market is in single digits today, but we do believe it has a lot of potential in addressing the pain points of the end consumer," says Haranath Lokanadham, Ticketvala's chief executive officer.



The business is also seeing competition grow. South-centred Customerneedz.com a firm founded by a graduate of IIM, Bangalore, connects 200 cities and only allows credit-card or online payments. But it is planning to introduce live chat help. It also allows cancellations on the Net.