With the years festive season reaching its zenith during the long Diwali weekend, demand for intercity travel is at its peak as the nation approaches the festival of lights, indicating strong positive sentiment towards travel. redBus, online bus ticketing platform, has so far recorded a 30 per cent rise in bookings over previous year for the Diwali week.
About 42 per cent of the overall bookings this season are from Metro and Tier I cities. redBus is also witnessing strong uptake from tier 2 and 3 cities compared to last year.
Over 2,500 bus operators and about 21 Road Transport Corporations are all saddled up to cater to the rising demand by running about 20,000 daily services during the Diwali week. These services are expected to ferry 42.5 lakh passengers, across more than 1 lakh routes, covering a cumulative distance of 94 crore km over seven days.
Data from redBus so far indicates Bengaluru to be the city with the highest number of travellers moving out.
About 65 per cent of the current bookings are for travel within states and the remaining 35 per cent for interstate travel. Seventy-two per cent of the current bookings have been made on Air-Conditioned buses, up from 54 per cent last year.
The top five states where redBus is witnessing high demand for travel are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat.
For Diwali this year, the shortest intercity bus route booked in the country is between Guwahati and Machkhowa in Assam, covering a distance of 4.9 kms in 20 minutes and the longest is between Bengaluru and Thalodi (Rajasthan), covering a distance of 2,086 km in 37 hours.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Sangam, CEO, redBus, stated, "We are enthused to witness the positive travel sentiment in the days leading up to Diwali. With almost all of the bus routes opened up for unrestricted movement across the country, the industry is now firmly on its path to overcoming the deficits induced by the pandemic over the last year and a half. Our partner bus operators are geared up to meet this demand revival for the festive period.
"We fully expect intercity bus ticketing volumes to grow further from here onwards as travel picks up steam with reopening of Universities and the increasing trend of resumption of physical working from office."
(With inputs from IANS)