India’s online travel leader, Makemytrip has recently launched India’s first sms based bus ticketing service. The service will allow even the basic feature phone users, having no data plan to choose from over 1300 operators and 12000 routes across India. The platform for providing this service is developed by txtWeb, a sms platform for mobile app developers by Intuit.
To avail the service, the user needs to SMS @mbus with details like destinations of travel, date of travel and number of passengers to 9664896648. MakeMyTrip will then provide choices of different operators on that day and route. The user can select the required operator and make payment through immediate payment service (IMPS).
Makemytrip has made this move looking forward to the growth in handset sales along with increasing penetration of mobiles across the country. The company also plans to launch sms based service for other businesses apart from transportation booking, depending upon the response received for currently launched service.
“We targeted bus-ticket reservation for this platform since the ticket-value is lower for most first-time users to confidently experiment with the channel. Once they experience the convenience first-hand, we are confident they will continue to transact via mobile.”, said Amit Somani, Chief Products Officer.
He also added that the team strongly believes that the future of eCommerce and travel buying experience is on the ‘mobile’ and will continue to build products with a mobile-first approach.
As per Manish Kalra, Marketing Head, MakeMyTrip, the sector is still untapped and offers tremendous potential as more bus operators like state transport corporations are also developing back-end infrastructure to cater to online and SMS booked tickets on their buses.
The Indian online bus ticketing market is among the few niche markets, and is attracting the leading players, as is clear from recent acquisition of redBus by ibibo.The other players offering similar services include IRCTC which recently launched sms based rail tickets booking service.