December 01, 2007

Siteseeing - 13

redBus

You can book all your transport in India online these days: planes, trains and cars—sort of—but not busses. Until now, with redBus. Aside from e-tickets, you can order ’em by phone or SMS, and have them delivered to you at a small premum (in major metros). You can even get them from physical shops, which seems to me to defeat the point, but then, hey, I have exactly zero successful start-ups to my name.
They claim 3500 routes, over 2000 destinations and tie-ups with over 150 bus operators, mainly, so far, in the South and West. It’s difficult to verify this; there are no lists onsite, and the Search selections are dynamic, so I was unable to search for anything except the site-dictated destinations once I’d chosen a start point. Gah. And then I got few or no choices on a number of routes.
There are several other speedbumps. One search I tried got a result that seemed to imply an impossible one-hour journey. Because the site neglects to add the date of arrival, which would have revealed that it would take 27 hours. Criminal sloppiness. Then tere’s no way to easily plan a multi-leg journey. No maps either, unforgivable in this era of mash-ups, not even a lists of stops en route.
They can get away with this now. But when competition steps in, they might wind up missing the bus.

Published in Outlook Traveller, December 2007.

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