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A hurdle in his vacation back home turned up with an idea of Red [Case Study]


Red Bus is India’s largest bus ticketing platform, trusted by over 6 million Indians. It was founded by three engineers- Phanindra Sama, Charan Padmaraju, and Sudhakar Pasupunari, who studied together at the BITS, Pilani and later worked in various companies in Bengaluru. Started steadily in August 2006 with a few seats from one operator, red Bus today is one of the most successful online bus ticket booking service. It has a turnover sale of 6, 00, 00,000 tickets via web, mobile and various other forms of internet and e-ticketing. In today’s time it has 700 bus operators and 10,000 buses listed in it. It operates on over 80,000 routes with all good and reputed busses with safety being on the top. It gives you the facility to book tickets over its 30,000 + outlets all over. And the business is yet expanding.

The idea for such a brilliant start-up came when the founder Phanindra Sama was travelling back home in 2005 during his Diwali vacations in Hyderabad. Opting a plan at the very last moment which left him with the very last option which was bus. While every bus agent claimed that there was a seat but none could book a ticket and kept asking him to try other possible options. Ultimately he was forced to stay and was not able to travel home due to such atrocities. Lack of access to the available tickets made him demoralized but on the other hand it dawned an idea upon him to take it further with his own up gradations so that what happened with him could not be a future incident with another. His engineer instincts persuaded him to take it further and to build a better system. The founders left their comfortable jobs and started red Bus. The main reason behind red Bus was that:

(A) Travel agents don’t have the information regarding the aspects of bus operators. This made a deep flaw =between the system and customers, and ultimately the customers were forced to adopt another way.

(B) Most of the agents played smart and were not able to sell return tickets.


Initially red Bus started in August 2006 with INR 500,000 which was the total savings of all the founders. The founders of red Bus along with other friends divided the work and started working on weekends on the project. When the prototype was ready, they went to the bus operators and tried selling their ideas. But sooner or later their ideas were not valued and they had to return with a heavy heart. First year was not a scoopful one where they did a business of only 50 lakhs. But slowly and steady their extreme hard work and labor paid them off as they did a turnover of 5 crore at the end of the year 2008. And by the year 2010 the company had a turnover of 60 crore.

In mid 2015 ibibo group rolled out red Bus in Singapore and Malaysia. With the launch of this service people can book red Bus for inter city between Singapore and Malaysia and intra city within Malaysia. This has widened its business on a larger scale and has increased its approach towards technology sector. With much hard work and success Red established its mobile app for further reaching out to the people and making bookings easier and rapid.

The thorough market research on the idea part, strong technical background used for idea implementation, innovative and constructive business plan, mentors, experts, updated work process and above all have helped in making Red Bus a successful organization in India.


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