BusSeat.lk. Makes Your Bus Ride Easier
Public transport in Sri Lanka has always had its own share of road bumps. Passengers are often inconvenienced because of delays, no-shows and overcrowding. To solve this issue, BusSeat.lk was launched to give passengers easier access and better information on the bus routes.
Marking its first anniversary, this start-up, BusSeat.lk has successfully tied up with the country’s premier telecommunications service provider, Dialog Axiata, to give easier access for passengers to book their seats on bus routes plying Sri Lanka’s road network.
TechAdvisor.lk spoke with co-founder of BusSeat.lk Prasanth Subendran on their journey so far, including overcoming roadblocks, jams and delays.
TA.LK: What is BusSeat.lk? How does it work?
BusSeat.lk is an online bus ticket reservation/booking platform which connects bus operators and passengers. Bus operators can put their bus details in order to sell their bus seats. On the other hand passengers can buy their bus seat tickets from available buses at BusSeat.lk.
TA.LK: Who started this?
The idea was pitched at Yarl IT Hub Yarl Geek Challenge 3 and that team was the winner of that season. Then the idea moved to company formation stage and co-founded by me. The company got its initial seed funding from Blue Ocean Ventures and then received more funding from Lankan Angel Network investors.
TA.LK: When was it started?
The company was registered in February 2015 but started the operation in May 2015 and launched the BusSeat.lk platform on August of 2015.
TA.LK: Is this only for private buses or the CTB as well?
For the moment the company is focusing on the inter provincial private buses approved by National Transport Commission of Sri Lanka. The system is able cater the CTB buses as well, but not available at this time.
TA.LK: Can a passenger pay for the ticket via your website? Book a seat?
Yes the passenger can book their bus tickets at https://busseat.lk using any online payment method such as any credit cards (VISA, MASTER, AMEX), also debit cards (Need to be approved by bank for online payments), eZ Cash (Dialog, Etisalat, Hutch), mCash. The online banking such as Sampath Vishwa will be integrated to the platform very soon. In addition to this, we also accept offline payments such as bank deposits, eZ cash payments to mobile number 076 676 4848, or direct cash if the customer cannot pay online. In order to reserve seats offline , the passenger needs to call our hotline number 076 676 4848 over cellular network, whatsapp, viber or even contact us through Facebook Messenger http://m.me/BusSeat.lk.
TA.LK: Is the e-ticket valid or does the passenger have to redeem the physical ticket at some point?
Once the passenger successfully books a bus ticket at BusSeat.lk platform, the details will be texted to the passengers mobile and in the same time, the relevant bus operator also will be notified in the real time with the details of passenger. In addition we have introduced a mobile application to bus operators (at the moment not available to passengers), The bus operators are always aware of the booking as they will be maintaining the bus booking through the same BusSeat.lk platform.
TA.LK: How is the response in the first six months and now after one year?
The response was not bad. In the first six months, it was slow as the online bus ticket booking method is new to Sri Lanka. But we have created the eco system about online bus ticket booking among people through various channels such as Facebook and articles. The rate of booking has been increasing and nowadays we receive more bus ticket booking requests.
TA.LK: What are the routes that are connected to this site info?
Kataragama – Colombo, Hambantota – Colombo, Tangalle – Colombo, Matara – Colombo, Kamburupitiya – Colombo, Matara – Panadura, Welimada – Colombo, Nuwara Eliya – Colombo, Dayagama – Colombo, Hatton – Colombo, Akkaraipattu – Colombo, Batticaloa – Colombo, Kalmunai – Colombo, Ampara – Colombo, Kandy – Colombo, Mahiyanganaya – Colombo, Polonnaruwa – Colombo, Anuradhapura – Colombo, Vavuniya – Colombo, Mannar – Colombo, Kilinochchi – Colombo, Jaffna – Colombo, Point Pedro – Colombo, Kankesanthurai – Colombo
TA.LK: What happens if there are delays to the bus arrivals and departures? Is the passenger informed?
The passenger will be notified by the relevant bus operators regarding any delays in arrivals and departures.
TA.LK: How does the tie-up with Dialog work?
We have tied-up with Dialog’s 444 call service. This is a 24-hour service provided in all three languages in order to reserve bus tickets as well as paying through add-to-mobile-bill method.
TA.LK: What plans for the future?
We are in the process of adding more and more buses for all routes into the platform in order to provide even more convenient bus availability in our platform. We also intend adding more bus operators to this site to increase their bus ticket sales and to easily manage their bus ticket booking without any pen and paper work. As the mobile application for bus operators is available currently, we are going to launch the application for passenger soon for both Android and iOS.
TA.LK: What’s the plan for the future
The platform is a fully fledge solution to the public transport bus ticket booking in Sri Lanka. So we would like to work with the government in order to take this to next level.