With USD 100 mn outlay, RailYatri to expand intercity bus ops
Kolkata, Oct 8 (PTI) Online travel startup RailYatri
is planning to expand its 'IntrCity' bus service in the
country over the next two years by increasing its fleet to
2000 from the existing 65 with an investment of up to USD 100
million, a top official said.
Backed by latest technology, the firm is set to create
a multi-modal intercity transportation solution for at least
one-million passengers who fail to get their train tickets
confirmed in a day, he said.
"Our brand IntrCity is already operational in 12
cities with a current fleet of 65 buses. We are working to
expand fleet size to 2,000 with pan-India connectivity on all
the important routes over the next two years.
"With its increased fleet, IntrCity could possibly
become the largest intercity bus service brand in the
country," RailYatri Chief Business Officer Swapnil Tripathi
told PTI over phone.
Modelled on European smart bus service Flixbus,
IntrCity is currently operational on limited routes in north,
west and south India, he said.
"We follow asset-light model and all buses have been
taken on lease. We have plans to launch IntrCity services in
the east in next fiscal," Tripathi said.
Apart from leveraging its online users, IntrCity is
building air-conditioned lounges for passengers with
provisions for offline ticket sale.
Talking about funding for the expansion project, he
said the startup has already raised USD 15 million and another
USD 20-25 million is in the pipeline.
Existing investors of RailYatri include Nandan
Nilekani, Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures and Helion Ventures.
"RailYatri, which began its modest journey in 2011 by
providing train information followed by meal-on-train and
ticketing services, now seeks a fresh investment of USD 50-60
million over the next 12-15 months for its inter-city bus
brand," Tripathi stated.
Asked the reason for foraying into bus service, he
said the company's operational insight revealed that inter-
city travel beyond 300km was a major problem area and demanded
a trusted and reliable solution.
"Scaling up meal-on-train and ticketing services has
its limitations but we foresee immense opportunity in offering
alternative travel solution to those one-million train
passengers who fail to get their seats confirmed," Tripathi
added. PTI BSM