Airport Bus: A Way to Encourage a Shift to Buses

Airport bus vayu vajra at the Bangalore Airport

Our cities are often divided by class; everyone has their place, especially on the streets. Walking people have a different status than those in cars, trains, or buses. The choice of one mode over another is often a mix of efficiency and what seems “natural to them.” How can people who never willingly take the bus be convinced to do so? One of the answers is the Airport Bus.

Imagine a city like Bengaluru that struggles with multiple mobility problems. Before the Airport Bus, aka “Vayu Vajra,” came in, people had minimal options, with the worst and most popular one being cabs. People used to pay between 800 to 2000 Rs to reach the city center from the airport. When Vayu Vajra came in, people saw these brand new AC buses with charging points for only about 100 bucks, taking them to the city center. The ones who first tried it were pleasantly surprised, and it wasn’t just the price point for them anymore. It was cost, comfort, and dignity. Although the speed remains the same with cars and buses (unless they introduce bus priority lanes), this is a good enough reason for people to switch.

As part of the Bus4us campaign, we worked on marketing the Vayu Vajra in Bengaluru. We created engaging videos and graphics promoting the Vayu Vajra and spreading the word.

Similarly, for Ahmedabad, which had an airport bus on the bus priority lane, the corporation couldn’t popularise the bus despite it being only 50 Rs to go to the city. A cab or a rickshaw would cost double or triple. The reason is a mix of lack of information but also the class divide. Many airport goers did not relate to taking the bus as a form of dignified control. The bus was super comfortable (just like Bengaluru’s Vayu Vajra). Still, it was often infrequent and unavailable late at night or early in the morning. Yet, a big group of people could take the bus during the working hours of the airport service. Hence, we created a campaign around it.

Apart from creating introductory videos that worked as promo videos for the airport bus, we also roped in influencers to show the utility and desirability of the bus.

Here are the top 10 ideas to popularise an airport bus:

1. Affordable Pricing:

Set a competitive and affordable fare to make the airport bus an attractive option compared to cabs or other private transportation.

2. Comfort and Amenities:

Highlight the comfort and amenities of the airport bus, such as air conditioning and charging points, to make it a more appealing and comfortable choice for passengers.

3. Dignity and Control:

Emphasise the idea that taking the bus is a dignified choice, offering passengers a sense of control over their transportation while maintaining a level of comfort.

4. Effective Marketing Campaigns:

Create engaging videos, graphics, and promotional material to effectively market the airport bus, showcasing its advantages and addressing any misconceptions.

5. Information Dissemination:

Ensure that information about the airport bus is readily available and easily accessible to potential passengers, addressing any lack of awareness or knowledge.

6. Bus Priority Lanes:

Advocate for the introduction of bus priority lanes to improve the speed and efficiency of the airport bus, making it a more time-effective option.

7. Extended Operating Hours:

Consider extending the operating hours of the airport bus to accommodate passengers during late-night or early-morning travel, catering to a broader range of schedules.

8. Partnerships and Collaborations:

Collaborate with airlines, travel agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to promote the airport bus as a preferred mode of transportation for travellers.

9. User Testimonials:

Collect and share positive testimonials from passengers who have had a satisfactory experience with the airport bus, leveraging real stories to build trust.

10. Social Media Engagement:

Leverage social media platforms to engage with the target audience, share updates, and run campaigns that encourage people to choose the airport bus for their travel needs.

Implementing these strategies collectively can enhance the popularity of an airport bus service and encourage a shift in people’s transportation choices.

In summary, the Airport Bus is more than a mode of transportation; it’s a solution to urban challenges. Drawing from our learnings in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, a blend of affordability, comfort, and accessibility can make the airport bus a preferred choice.

By fostering partnerships, extending operating hours, and prioritising user experience, we can transform the airport bus into a symbol of progress, convenience, and shared responsibility. Let’s work together to reshape urban transportation, making buses not just vehicles but practical agents of positive change in our cities.

Would you like to know more about the Bus4us Campaign? Check out our blog ‘Bus4us: A Citizen-Led Campaign for More, Better and Faster Buses’.

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