PayTM, a prominent online recharge site, has clocked more than 3,000 bus ticket bookings on Day One of the launch of the service. The company, which till recently enabled mobile, DTH and data card recharge services online, launched bus ticketing service on December 12 (as first reported by Techcircle.in). It has entered a market which is dominated by leader Redbus, besides the generic online travel agencies (OTAs) like Yatra Via and MakeMyTrip who also sell bus tickets.
Although RedBus is a distant number one with 22,000 bookings daily (as of July 2012; see here for more) through its own site, besides another 11,000 through partner OTAs, PayTM is likely to emerge as a significant player going by its opening reception.
Bangalore-based RedBus started operations in 2006 and has sold over 10 million bus tickets ever since.
For PayTM, this expansion would certainly add to its margins as it has so far banked on high-volume-but-negligible-margin recharge business. It can also build its recharge business by cross selling to those booking bus tickets.
Bus ticketing will bring in revenues through a commission-based model. Harinder Takhar, CEO, PayTM had earlier told us that the differentiation would lie in user experience and that they will make the service better by giving attention to detail. But before we get to the UX, here's some box-office statistics from PayTM's first day out as an online bus ticket seller (12/12/2012 12:13 am to 13/12/2012, 12:13 am).
Total number of booked tickets: 3,012 (total passengers 4,448 due to multiple passengers in one booking)
Total users: 2,048
Total Rupee value of tickets sold: Rs 36.76 lakh
Gross ARPU: Rs 1,795.3
Average ticket value: Rs 1,220.7
Top 5 searched source cities: Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Delhi
Top 5 searched destination cities: Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Vijayawada
PayTM v/s redBus: UX
Well, there isn't much to play around with the user interface, however, since redBus is a bus ticketing-focused portal, a user goes straight to business whereas on PayTM, one goes first to the home page from where they can choose to go the bus ticketing page.
From there on it's mostly similar barring certain features that redBus has in addition to PayTM like customer rating, number of seats left, pictures of the bus (a cool thing to have), hyperlinks for cancellation and address of the operators all in the same page and that too in a very uncluttered and easy-to-the eye manner.
But PayTM is not far behind since it offers more filters like AC or non-AC, sleeper or non-sleeper. Though the traveller can choose the pick-up and drop points in both the portals, it is easier on PayTM than on redBus. Both the portals allow selection of seats.
Even though redBus has a lead, given PayTM's emergence in the recharge business in a short period of time with clean UX, this could develop into an interesting fight.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)