1. Inconvenience: Customers’ needs to visit bus counters for booking tickets, costing them both money and time.
2. Unsystematic: Since tickets are booked manually over the phone, errors are inevitable like multiple booking of the same seat.
3. Loss: Less number of officially booked tickets resulted in customer’s loss and roadside pickups of passengers by drivers and conductors led to the loss of authorized agents and negative branding of the company.
4. Extended staff: Ticket booking agent’s commission had to be calculated manually and commission had to be sent through cheque or bank deposits. This required additional manpower which is a burden to the company.
5. Records: There is lack of proper data about growth of company. There is no solid data of the most profitable routes and customer feedback as well as there is no transparency in transactions.
The idea behind Network Travels’ online ticket booking portal was to allow bus travellers from North-East India to book bus tickets at their convenience. While designing the application, a special consideration was made to accommodate the brand image of Network Travels. The status of the booking orders and the course of payment which would be managed online would also be visible to both sides. The most challenging part of the project was to bring to functionality the payment transparency. After the developmental process the stiff task was to train the in-house employees.
There is a great Digital Divide in NorthEast compared to rest of the country and issues like mobile network connectivity, internet connectivity, proper knowledge for operating computers and smartphones prevails, along with the reluctance to accept digitalization. TechVariable officials travelled to such remote places in the entire North East and trained the people on the usage and benefits of an online system.
The developed online application solved aforementioned problems and earned profit.
➢ The overall bus occupancy has increased by about 30-40% on an average; i.e. Rs. 3500 per bus and Rs. 4.2 Lakh per day increase in revenue (considering 120 buses daily); hence, a monthly revenue increase of 1.26 CR.
➢ Income of the agents has increased by 25% percent, as they can now book any no. of ticket in any route and this number is set to go up even more with the implementation of other models.
➢ Less manpower required in company-ticket counters and administrative works, which directly resulted in cost cutting of Rs. 80,000/- per month i.e. Rs 9.6 LPA.
➢ New buses can now be added to routes instantly which shows high demand of passengers. Three new routes have been added as a result of public’s request in the website. A) Shillong-Siliguri B) Dimapur-Mokokchung C) Tura-Shillong. This information was previously unknown to the company. Results- Rs. 37500/- worth of tickets sold each day, which implies a monthly revenue of Rs. 11.25 Lakh, considering 25 seats occupancy (80%) in a 31-seater bus.
➢ A wallet system has been incorporated into the agent’s app, wherefrom the commission for each ticket booked is directly credited into their bank accounts.
The travel sector in the region has seen a slow, but evident growth, with the roads and overall infrastructure under various stages of development. The step taken by Network Travels will go a long way in ensuring proper streamlining of the ticket booking system as well as plugging a sense of transparency to the overall system with the involvement of agents and other third parties in the ticket booking system. By working on this portal, we gained the much-needed experience of working for a high demanding client and bettered our skills at customer satisfaction, which made us rise to the occasion and polished us in developing service-based web-portal, customer solutions and payment management etc.
Some research efforts are being made to provide real-time bus information to the passengers. An agent-based architecture is also going to be developed to provide accurate information about bus location and arrival times. Each bus will be equipped with GPS receiver, with the mobile phones being GPS enabled too. The system will capture the user’s position and bus position through GPS, and thus will provide appropriate routing and travel information to the passengers. A real-time transit vehicle information system will be developed that will deliver content to Internet-enabled mobile devices. Based on scheduling information, the proposed system will predict the arrival information of the bus to the bus stops.
➢ Understanding the trend of travelers:
● Using analytics to determine how people are using mass transit?
● Are they travelling alone or with someone?
● Did a traveler travel on occasion or on regular basis?
➢ Visit Patterns:
● Their bookings trends based on Source to Destination, Time, Day or night etc.
● Demand of services.
➢ Increase the share of wallet of existing travelers – working on the Loyalty Strategy:
● Finding out your loyal travelers and personalized offers for them.
● Getting traveler to ride on bus one more time and travel with his friends also.
● Loyal customers are the biggest brand.
Business and Revenue generation:
By capturing information from customer interactions and other sources, we can gain a 360-degree view of the customer and improve customer lifetime value as well as improve service delivery and marketing strategies.
Currently a team of 3 online system admins and 2 software developers from TechVariable is working in support and maintenance.