Bus services in Assam and the Northeast region are expected to witness a positive change as dedicated private players are entering the market in recent times. With online bus ticketing giant redBus already revolutionizing the ticketing infrastructure here, Gurgaon-based startup YoloBus has announced its foray in the region – making it an exciting prospect for the travelers.
YoloBus aims to improve hospitality in long-distance inter-city bus services with the assistance of technology. The startup’s focus is to provide safe and hygienic travel for customers.
In an exclusive interaction with The News Mill, YoloBus founder and CEO Shailesh Gupta said that the startup aims to provide airline-level services such as bus captains, high-speed Wi-Fi, washrooms, food and beverages, device charging points, etc.
Excerpts from the interaction:
You are venturing into a relatively tough market during a crisis situation – COVID-19 pandemic. What are your expectations from the market?
Our focus is to provide safe and hygienic travel for customers. We see the current situation as a perfect opportunity to extend our operations to help the people of Assam travel safely and generate employment opportunities for the long term. We would like to make an impact when it matters and we believe that we are perfectly capable of making this possible now.
Will current policies, like physical distancing in terms of seat booking, have an impact on the ticket pricing structure?
Obviously, there would be some impact on the ticket pricing. But we are working on keeping them the same or minimizing the impact using innovative safety precautions. We are also looking for association guidelines on pricing.
Can you inform us about the immediate routes you will be operating, along with the ticket fares?
In Assam, YoloBus aims to start offering its safe and sanitized travel experiences across cities of Guwahati, Tinsukia, Silchar, North Lakhimpur, Duliajan, and many more.
We have a dynamic pricing technology through which we are able to optimize the prices based on distance, time etc.
Will you operate your own fleet in Assam?
We have a very innovative business model where we partner with existing bus operators and then standardize the buses to YoloBus standards. We use technology and data science to provide 10x better experience to both our riders and driver partners. With this approach, we enable local operators to bring better technology and service experience to passengers and collaborate as partners to help them earn more instead of competing with them.
YoloBus is launching with 10 buses this month. This will be followed by an increase in the number of buses in the next couple of months.
Can you let us know the types of buses you will be operating in Assam?
We have a range of bus options to choose from. We operate in AC bus category with Volvo, Benz etc as most popular and reliable bus brands to offer a premium bus experience to our users.
Are you planning to venture into other states in the region?
Yes, we are talking to our users to know where we should expand next. A few of the identified locations include: Guwahati – Imphal via Dimapur and Kohima; Guwahati – Aizawl; Guwahati – Itanagar.
What are the challenges and opportunities you see in the overall Northeast market?
We see immense opportunities in the Northeast region. We believe we can be a strong partner to boost local economy and provide a safe and hygienic mode of transport for the locals. There is no major pan-India player operating in the Northeast market, and with on-time arrival guarantee of YoloBus, consumers will get premium experience at reasonable prices.