CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Manish Rathi, Co-Founder, IntrCity
1. Do you think technology is one of the key drivers of the Indian mobility industry?
Advances in technology have significantly changed mobility over time. Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence have played a crucial role in revolutionizing the current and future of the mobility industry. Especially for intercity buses, the emergence of brands and organized players with technology has completely changed the ecosystem, especially for intercity travel. We have seen a 360-degree turnaround in everything that is now being digitized — seat reservations, service quality, customer experience, vehicle monitoring and real-time tracking.
Intercity buses are a major driver of economic growth with a $30 billion market serving more than 40 million passengers every day. The government’s focus on promoting road traffic is reflected in the aggressive expansion of highways and the introduction of new expressway expansion plans such as the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.
2. Please highlight some new challenges you have faced in the mobility industry?
The genesis of IntrCity was to solve the problem of intercity mobility, where trains were the preferred mode of transportation but were not available at short notice on most days. Although the expansion of the highway has improved road traffic, intercity buses were not the first choice of travelers. However, a lot has changed in the last 3 years, as the advent of our platform has made intercity buses part of the primary consideration for various travelers on the country’s top 30 routes. Some of the recent challenges we are tackling are helping bus operators from across the country to deploy fleets anywhere in the country based on intercity mobility demand on that route. Our technology together with MORTH’s One Nation One Permit initiative has made it easy for the operator to start services on a new route.
Bus operators didn’t have a single integrated platform to manage demand as well as manage their operations, and IntrCity’s mobility platform does that for them now. One of the new challenges we’re trying to solve, and we’ll be digitizing soon, is a dashboard of their overall vehicle performance in terms of fuel, driver behavior, business performance, crashes and helping them get better returns from each vehicle.
We are also working on baggage tagging where each baggage is tagged with PNR and handed over only after KYC approval. There are also use cases for one-click booking for regular travelers where they lock their seat in the app and pay on the bus.
3. How does AI play a key role in driving IntrCity SmartBus operations in the mobility sector?
The introduction of smart technologies has the potential to change the mobility industry and change the way we travel. Our customers are benefiting significantly from the digital transformation taking place in the industry. Using the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), IntrCity travelers enjoy an efficient and convenient travel experience.
Online booking and travel management from the app:
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of contactless technology. Generation Y and Z travelers not only book a ticket, review the experience online after booking, but also immediately share feedback about the service. With features like ‘Where’s Your Bus’, ‘Track Boarding Time’, track the bus in real time and their loved ones traveling on the bus. This facility has increased the safety of intercity travel for women and the elderly.
Enhanced security with real-time tracking: With GPS tracking enabled on every SmartBus, travelers can track the movement of the bus and loved ones traveling on the bus in real time. This feature has made intercity mobility even safer for women and elderly people traveling alone.
Insights and reports allow operators to better manage their journey: Operators using SmartBus Mobility technology have an advantage over other bus operators as they view analytical reports with vehicle performance assessment and determination of operational efficiency and effectiveness on the serviced route. It is a real-time, multi-dimensional and comprehensive report that measures service standards, including vehicle and driver performance, as well as vehicle maintenance. The report serves as a dashboard for the operator, enabling the improvement of performance metrics such as service costs, fuel consumption, fleet utilization, service output per bus, daily revenue, maintenance expenses, comparison and analysis of real-time and historical data, etc. On.
Forecast Maintenance: Each SmartBus is equipped with a device that anticipates potential problems and offers fixes, helping to reduce unnecessary depot stops and unplanned downtime. This allows them to better optimize their assets, perform more efficient operations and save up to 50% on maintenance and repair costs.
4. New technological trends you have noticed in the Bus Mobility sector.
There are trends from previous years in the mobility industry. After the outbreak of COVID19, hygiene emerged as one of the main issues in the bus mobility industry and became a trend. To understand customer sentiment and preferences around travel, we conducted a thorough consumer survey during Covid-19 and acted quickly on the results. We developed the Safe+ project, which is now available on all buses, and implemented strict safety rules, safeguards and policies. We have bus lounges
where all hygiene and sanitation procedures are followed, as well as social distancing. IntrCity also introduced built-in toilets to ensure human hygiene. Players who promise all of these things gain market share faster.
Thanks to technological advancements, the transportation industry has been successful in its path of innovation and evolution. AI is one such advanced technology that has benefited the industry. AI applications in transportation are supporting market growth and technology adoption in businesses. Smart connectivity is made possible by AI and ML, which reduces the need for time, effort, fuel and money when traveling in cities. It can keep track of traffic, navigate roads efficiently and choose the fastest/best route. In addition, it can provide commuters with on-demand transportation availability and real-time updates on bus movements, which can also help your loved ones track your location, enhancing their bus travel experience.
5. Plans for further development in the technology sector of IntrCity SmartBus
We have been working on technological advancements in three main pillars – customer service, operator operations and fleet management – and we have been working on digitizing every part. One of the latest developments we are working on is in the area of luggage tagging, where each piece of luggage is marked with a PNR and handed over only after KYC approval. There are also use cases for one-click booking for frequent travelers when they block a seat and pay on the bus.
Operators currently rely on IntrCity for decision making and one of the use cases we will soon digitize is their overall vehicle performance dashboard for fuel, driver behaviour, business performance, crashes and help them get better returns from each vehicle.