Busworld is the world’s top international expo for bus and coach sector. Covering five destinations such as India, Latin America, Europe (Kortrijk), Turkey and Russia, Busworld has been strengthening its presence in the global bus sector year-on-year. The seventh edition of Busworld expo has been successfully conducted in India, attracting thousands of professional visitors. Didier Ramoudt, President, Busworld International, speaks to Jaishankar Jayaramiah of Automotive India News about the Indian bus industry and future plans of Busworld for India.
You are conducting the expo for the seventh time in India. What is your take on the Indian bus and coach industry?
We are seeing a considerable change in the past two years in the Indian bus and coach sector. The Prime Minister of India is very proactive towards the industrial sector. His ‘Make-in-India’ initiative has become very popular, attracting investments from the foreign brands including in the bus sector. Lured by this kind of proactive measures, European brands like Scania, Volvo and Benz are increasing their investment in India. This will increase the standard in the Indian bus sector and drives other vehicle makers too to adopt same quality and standards.
Which are the areas should be addressed to expand the bus market in India?
India is a huge country with more population. The public transport plays a major role in addressing travel requirements of the general public here. At the same, there is lot of aged buses still plying on road, polluting the environment. All these buses should be replaced as it would increase the comfort and safety of the travelers while attracting them towards public transport. We understand that the Indian authorities are contributing and supporting the global concern to respect environment, banning outdated and polluting engines within reasonable terms.
Can you specify the major untapped bus market in India?
Rural connectivity. The opportunity lies in rural connectivity and road is the only mode of transport for each and every corner of the rural areas. This can be addressed by the public transport that inturn will expand the bus industry.
As far as India is concerned, what is your target or goal to achieve?
The Indian bus sector has been expanding and the stake holders of the industry should have a common platform for the implementation of various improvements in the bus industry. Busworld brings bus builders, vendors and operators together, keeping in mind that the passenger is the central person for who we care. Infact every individual person has right on mobility and it should be offered in comfort, safety and sustainable transport with respect for the environment. The government has the key to implement any regulations. We expect more regulations should be implemented in terms of safety of passengers and environment.
Apart from conducting expos, how Busworld’s expertise has been used in new concepts?
We have created a concept of office bus, which is being tested on pilot basis in Belgium. Traffic is a major issue in all places, particularly the office going people and the employer are affected much. Under our concept, the office bus has working space with table, plugs, WiFi connection. So commuters have all they need to turn their travel time into ‘paid’ working time. By doing so, the office bus reduces traffic jam stress and creates a better work/life balance. As it takes off many cars off the road, it also reduces traffic congestion and CO2 emissions from commuting. An European company – VDL has developed the office bus for the Belgium-based supermarket Colruyt.
You have been conducting your expo in Mumbai. What made you to choose Bangalore this time?
Not only this time. Even the next edition also will be in Bengaluru as we believe this destination is the centre-of-the automotive industry in India and offer us better opportunities. Also the good facilities of this venue (Bangalore International Exhibition Centre) convinced us to take that decision. More over major players like Scania, Volvo, Bharat Benz (Chennai) are here or in nearby areas. Tata Marcopolo is also located in Karnataka. We have chosen Bangalore based on our customers feedback that we received so far. This is the largest edition we ever had in India. We are constantly growing. We will double our presence in the next edition. This is a personal challenge. We can bring in more participants through our roadshow for the next show.