Catching the bus in time
In 2006 Phanindra Sama, a BITS Pilani graduate and working in Bangalore, wanted to visit Hyderabad to spend time with his family during Diwali. Like most people trying to make reservation at the last minute during the festival season he was unable to get a seat on a bus. However, every travel agent after making a few calls would tell him to try a different travel agent as they could possibly secure him a seat. Intrigued by this behaviour, Sama did some research and designed software that bus ticket agents could use to check availability. That was how the country’s largest bus ticketing company http://www.redbus.in was started.
Redbus since than has launched operations in 22 states, offers services on over 25,000 routes and has built a network of over 12,000 bus operators. They have also tied up with five RTCs an have many more in the pipeline. “If you buy any printed bus ticket in the country it is most likely that Redbus makes a profit from it as we have sold out software as well as tied up with the largest online ticket sellers,” says Sama.
Redbus.in was started with Rs. 5,00,000 that was put together by Sama and his friends but received funding from venture capitalists as also mentoring from TiE. “The mentors really helped us set up the company and gave us direction. We would have not been here without their help. Many people come up with various modes but it is necessary to be given the correct navigation by incubation centres,” says Sama.
Talking about safety of buses in the light of the recent incidents that have taken place, Sama says that one of the ways to control the speed of buses is that they are now planning to ask android users to keep their redbus android application on during the journey and by this they will be able to track the speed of the bus by using GPS. If a bus is found to be speeding they will then inform the company that runs the bus. In June this year redbus.in was bought by Ibibo, a South African group for a large sum and Sarma is now looking for further study. At being asked if he has the next start-up idea in his head already he just smiles. Sama has been selected as a high impact entrepreneur by Endeavour that is run by the alumni of Harvard University and is only the second Indian to do so.