Manish Rathi ( )
Travel is back to pre COVID levels in most inter-city routes across India. This summer will witness a shift in how people will travel for vacation or meet families. Travellers today are more inclined to explore hidden gems around their hometowns, go on mindful retreats with extended families or take multiple short weekend vacations, to spend quality time with their families.
Mobility startups are leveraging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to elevate the travel experience, as well as build efficiencies by reducing the time, money and effort required to travel within cities. They are changing the face of mobility and travel and will continue to do so in 2023.
Here are some of the ways startups are reimagining travel.
A 360-degree mobility solution
This is an important change that startups have brought in the mobility segment, where the provider doesn’t just focus on boarding and deboarding, but also works on enhancing customer experience.
As an example, SmartBus provides an app where you can check last five journeys of the bus, boarding point location, pit-stops, dinner points, pre book snacks & dinner before you start your travel.
It further helps on the journey day with live Bus Tracker, talk to Bus Captain through app, buy in-bus snacks and share live location with family and friends. The boarding experience is like an airport check-in experience where you check-in to a lounge, wait for bus to arrive, buy snacks, use wifi, etc.
Elevated travel experience
Startups have completely digitised end-to-end inter-city bus travel. Now, commuters can check bus availability with a simple click on their mobile phones. Not only that, they can compare prices from different vendors, book contactless tickets, make payments online seamlessly, and enjoy an integrated, convenient and comfortable travel experience.
Safer travel for women and senior citizens
Not just a seamless experience, leading-edge solutions offered by startups are also make inter-city travel safer for youngsters, women and senior citizens with live tracking.
GPS-enabled tracking is helping travellers track the movement of the bus in real-time. It is also enabling family members to track their loved ones on the bus until they safely reach their destination.
Increased luggage safety
Just like air travel, technology-forward startups are ensuring luggage is transported safely in intercity travel. A noteworthy advancement is that of luggage tagging where each piece of luggage is tagged to a PNR number. This way a luggage is handed over to a traveller only after matching it to the PNR on the ticket. It is also proving to be extremely helpful in tracking luggage movement and ensuring it doesn’t get lost.
Better journey management
Startups are also offering data analytics solutions that provide insights into vehicle performance, effective routes, service standards such as driver skills and personnel behaviour, etc. These reports also offer a dashboard to the operations to help them measure fuel consumption, fleet utilisation, cost of service, maintenance expenses, revenues, and more, so that operators can use these indicators to enhance their journey management.
Optimised operational efficiency
One of the biggest advantages that startups are bringing to intercity bus operations is that of predictive maintenance. Equipment powered with intelligent sensors are helping operators track the health of their vehicles, identify potential problems and fix them even before they happen. This ensures optimal uptime, efficient operations, and most importantly, save huge costs on maintenance and repair.
A sustainable future
Environmentally-responsible travel is a critical need today and is rightfully fast gaining momentum among intercity mobility operators.
Startups are working relentlessly to design vehicles and solutions of the future that bet on modern technology to optimise fuel usage, eliminate wastage, reduce carbon footprint and achieve decarbonisation goals. Innovative use cases offered by startups will prove to be a game-change in designing a sustainable future of mobility and travel in 2023 and beyond.
Manish Rathi is the CEO and Co-founder of IntrCity.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)