Yolobus-an inter-city bus travel startup-was founded by Shailesh Gupta along with Danish Chopra and Mukul Shah in September 2019
Indian buses everyday carry a lot more than 70 million people in 170,000 buses. These figures reaffirm that Indians still depend on bus transport regardless of the presence of train and flight services. Although it holds true that bus transport is pocket friendly-thus supporting the cheapest in the income chain-late arrival, uncomfortable seats, absent or unhygienic toilets are among several shortcomings which have averted the interests of middle and upper middle-class people.
To handle these issues, Yolobus-an inter-city bus travel startup-was founded by Shailesh Gupta along with Danish Chopra and Mukul Shah in September 2019.
Within an interview with Entrepreneur India , Gupta discusses his startup, the way the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted it and what exactly are the near future plans.
Bad Trip CONVERTED INTO Inspiration
Gupta, a serial entrepreneur, founded Yolobus after having an effective stint with five to six startups. Co-working space and payment wallet were several startup ideas that Gupta materialized before getting into the transport sector. “We wished to create a brand which is 10 times much better than others,” said Gupta.
According to Gupta, one of the primary challenges that bus passengers face may be the insufficient punctuality. “I recall once I took a bus from Bengaluru to Chennai to meet up an IIT-Madras professor. The meeting was likely to happen at 9 am, however the bus reached in the afternoon. The complete trip was a waste,” added Gupta.
This and also other bad trips inspired Gupta to have a deep dive in this sector and think of a solution, Yolobus.
Gupta right from the start knew what would attract passengers and recreate the young generation to like bus transports. “We certainly are a customer-first brand. You want to give a world-class service a passenger can get in the 21st century while travelling in virtually any mode of transportation,” Gupta said.
All of the buses have washrooms, hi-speed WiFi connections, food and beverages and device charging points, amongst others.
Yolobus currently has 30 buses under their fleets and plans to improve the quantity in the post COVID era.
Currently, Yolobus services can be purchased in 10-12 locations which comprises Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai in south, Delhi, Manali and Varanasi, amongst others, in north India. The Gurugram-based startup has entered in the northeast and connects cities such as for example Guwahati, Silchar and Tinsukia, amongst others.
Gupta believes the startup will soon turn into a major brand in the northeastern states as you will find a lack of providers.
The business partners with existing bus operators and standardized them according to Yolobus standards
The ongoing pandemic and stringent lockdown have forced bus operators to lift their feet off the accelerator. “This pandemic was a breathing period for all of us to take some pause and consider how exactly we want to build the business enterprise and in what manner we are able to make it a sustainable one,” said Gupta.
The lockdown gave the founders enough time to rethink just how they would like to continue the operations after the lockdown is lifted.
With the partial lifting of the lockdown, Yolobus has seen a 40 to 50 % rise in the client bookings using routes.
Social distancing norms are strictly practised in the buses. Buses are sanitized after each trip. Passengers should wear masks in the bus. Along with sanitizers, the bus operators may also provide masks and PPE kit if asked by any passengers. Before onboarding, passengers proceed through a disinfectant spraying tunnel.
The business raised a $3.3 million Series A funding in the beginning of June to purchase technology, customer and crew safety and sanitization along with expansion plans across geographies.