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Abhibus.com to add ‘Meal-on-board’

Sudhakar Reddy Chirra, Founder and CEO, Abhibus.com speaks with T3 about the company’s progress so far and the products in the pipeline

What is the sort of year on year growth Abhibus.com has recorded since inception?

AbhiBus.com played the lead role for our growth since mid 2012. We began to add significant amount of users on our portal and our consumer business contributing significantly to the overall company’s growth. By mid 2012, we had enabled most operators, and in the process aggregated a sizeable inventory of bus content across India. Then, we kick started our consumer campaign and there has been no looking back. We have a pan India network with more than 1500 operators and 15000 routes aggregated. We are also the source API for other booking portals like Makemytrip and Goibibo, among others. Finally, through our private operators, we facilitate inventory to portals like redbus. In 2007, Abhibus.com generated Rs. 58 lakhs, which grew to Rs. 150 crores in 2012-13. We are expecting our revenue to touch Rs. 350 crores in 2013-14.

Are there any new services or offers you plan to add in the near future?

Yes, there are some unique features in the pipeline which will help both consumers and operators as well. We are working on the launch of Meal-on-board which will be available soon. This is a first of its kind in the bus industry and we are hoping it will be very helpful for long distance bus travellers for whom a meal on the way is either missing or is a bad experience. We are working towards launching this to our customers in a week’s time.

How has the tie up with Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation helped increase your reach to customers in the state?

Our association with APSRTC has been a very important part of our growth story in terms of our back-end operations, software and support that we give to more than a 100 medium-large operators across India. Our association with APSRTC has brought us visibility and trust among AP’s bus travellers.

What sort of response has your partnership with ICICI for travel insurance garnered?

The Bus Travel Insurance that we launched in partnership with ICICI Lombard has been receiving very good response. More than 500 customers opt for it every day through our portal Abhibus.com. The insurance package that is being offered covers hospitalisation and accident cover for seven days. In addition to this, we are in the process of negotiating over baggage loss and travel delay.

Do you work closely with the Indian travel trade to further your reach?

We work closely with several large OTAs in the market and provide the bus content to various OTA’s like MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, etc. We are also in talks with OTAs like Cleartrip and GDS network Abacus. At this current juncture, we are expanding on our existing line of business on aggregation and distribution of bus inventory.

What are the trends you have witnessed in the booking and travel habits of Indians?

Indians love to travel and that is something which is never going to change. Off late, we have seen that the number of days that people travel for are reducing. This is mostly weekend breaks or long weekends that are clubbed with festivals. Bus travel is a popular option among students and young working professionals and most of them tend to do their bookings online.

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