In our endeavour to bring you a series of interactions with our bus operators, we would like you to meet the real people, who strive to provide the best during our bus journeys.
Ever wondered what it is to like own a bus and run a bus company? It can be safely said that it is certainly not an easy task when it comes to this business, especially when there are new competitors entering the market every now and then. Hisham Barbhuiya spoke to Mr. G. Vasu, the owner of Roadlink India, to get an insight of the priorities, risks, tactics and mental preparedness involved in this business. Here are excerpts from the interview –
TicketGoose: Roadlink India is a six-year-old travel operator could you please tell us the history behind your company? How did you come up with the idea of starting bus services?
Mr. Vasu: The idea took birth with Mr. Allen Reddy who was based in South Africa at the time. He also happens to be the current chairman. His main aim was to make bus travel easy and affordable for the people of South Africa. He also started thinking on similar lines in terms of India, which has a large population.
TicketGoose: Please share with us some trivia about Roadlink India which is not known outside.
Mr. Vasu: We dared to venture into the business with just one coach from Bangalore to Chennai. Cleanliness, manners and punctuality are our main mantras. And we try to keep up with the benchmark we have set for ourselves no matter what the circumstances are.
TicketGoose: How has the journey been so far?
Mr. Vasu: With God’s grace, we are able to do well so far. So, I can say that the journey has been good till now. There have been a couple of unavoidable mishaps, but we have worked on them.
TicketGoose: What is the fleet size of Roadlink?
Mr. Vasu: We currently have 10 coaches, including two Volvos and six A/C sleepers.
TicketGoose: What are the destinations you cover?
Mr. Vasu: Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore are our main destinations. We mostly cater to passengers travelling to these three cities
TicketGoose: Any interesting destination you’d like to cover which you are not catering to now?
Mr. Vasu: In the near future we have ideas of linking up 20 different destinations, including Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Devakottai, Rameswaram, and Madurai. Special emphasis will also be laid on the temple towns of Tamil Nadu.
TicketGoose: What is your vision as far as bus travel in India is concerned?
Mr. Vasu: Currently, not even 6% of all routes are being covered by buses. In order to overcome this, we need to set a certain benchmark with assistance from the government, public and the society as a whole.
TicketGoose: Tell us about the amenities you provide to passengers in your buses.
Mr. Vasu: We provide blankets and meals within our buses at chargeable rates. However, we have stopped providing free water bottles as they are open to misuse. We also have a zero-tolerance towards mischief on-board. In cases of rowdy passengers, the crew is asked to interfere. If that fails, the culprits are handed over to the next stop’s police station. If they are extremely uncontrollable, they are dropped then and there irrespective of the place.
TicketGoose: What are the amenities you don’t provide in your bus, and why?
Mr. Vasu: As mentioned earlier, we refrain from providing free water bottles. Other than this, we go a step further and provide passengers with dental kits and wet tissues if the buses are scheduled to reach early in the morning.
TicketGoose: There are very few operators that are on the top, how do you strive to achieve excellence?
Mr. Vasu: We don’t believe in comparisons. We stress on uniqueness, and this is the virtue with which we have reached this far.
TicketGoose: What is the USP of your Roadlink India?
Mr. Vasu: Punctuality, cleanliness, crew members’ good behavior are what we believe in and what we practice.
TicketGoose: What are your future plans for your Travels?
Mr. Vasu: We will soon be tying up with taxi services in Chennai who can drop passengers at their respective destinations. This pre-booking service will be available through our android app. Apart from this free medical consultation coupons with reputed healthcare services are also being mulled.
TicketGoose: Your message to all the current and prospective customers out there?
Mr. Vasu: We love and serve you, with dedication and discipline. We can ensure you that we will continue to do so.