Young adults prioritise comfort and AC buses in Indian intercity travel

RedBus, an online bus ticketing platform, has released the first “India BusTrack” report, which provides insights into the Indian intercity bus industry.

“The report highlights a trend of young adults using buses, with around 68 per cent of passengers aged 18 to 36 prioritising comfort,” said Prakash Sangam, RedBus CEO. Data reveals that over 62 per cent prefer AC buses, and 50 per cent choose sleeper options for longer journeys. A RedBus spokesperson notes a surge in demand for sleeper buses, especially for intercity travel.

Online bookings

The report shows a shift in booking patterns driven by the convenience of online booking. Sangam mentions that smaller towns and cities now contribute 67 per cent of total bookings, compared to 33 per cent from metros, indicating increased internet use in non-metro areas.

The report states that “Fridays and Thursdays see the highest passenger volume, while Tuesdays are the least popular travel day.” Travel dips on weekends.

As per the report, the private bus industry saw a gross ticketing value of ₹3,600 crore in November-December 2023 and 36.06 million passengers travelled . There are 3,63,918 unique bus routes in India, and buses connect 8,530 towns across the country’s length and breadth, making the bus network’s reach on par with railways.

Occupancy rate

Maharashtra and Goa topped the charts with 82 per cent bus occupancy in November and December last year according to the report, while Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh saw the lowest occupancy at 67 per cent. The all-India bus occupancy rate was 77 per cent.

National highway infrastructure

According to Sangam, improved national highway infrastructure, with has increased by 60 per cent over the last decade, has significantly reduced travel time, benefiting both passengers and the industry.

“The new expressway connecting Nagpur and Mumbai serves as an example, with travel time reduced by almost 3 hours, leading to a 215 per cent increase in available seats and a 16 per cent drop in ticket prices,” the report stated.

Sangam expects the bus industry to benefit from continued infrastructural development, particularly expressway construction. The company expects improved roads to shorten travel durations, increased competition to lower ticket prices, and better connectivity to encourage more people to choose comfortable and affordable bus travel for intercity commutes.

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