How budget airlines can disrupt long distance buses
Long distance bus operators such as Translux, Intercape, Greyhound and SA Roadlink enjoy a large chunk of the market share in transporting passengers across the country. The vast majority of passengers who have been using buses before the introduction of low cost airlines are still loyal to the service and have not replaced buses with airlines.
Just this morning (at 5.30am) I went to Johannesburg Park Station to pick-up my sister and her family who have relocated from Durban to Johannesburg. The station was already abuzz with passengers arriving from various corners of the country, while others were departing at the same time.
Almost all the bus ticket sale outlets were busy with long queues of passengers ready to buy their tickets. As someone who travels to Cape Town from Johannesburg on a regular basis using low cost airlines…a thought hit me…why doesn’t these low-cost airlines have ticket sale outlets at Johannesburg Park Station?
Instead of them solely relying on Shoprite Money Market to reach the mass market of potential travellers without access to the internet…it would be wise of them to actually bring tickets right to where these long distance buses operate.
I did a quick online survey (based on 5th January 2013 departure)…for a bus ticket from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Intercape charges R680 their cheapest option, while Greyhound will take you there with your R800. Worth noting is that this includes 18 hours on the road with countless stops along the way.
Looking at how low-cost airlines charge for the same trip which only takes 2 hours and 5 minutes on the skies…departing at Lanseria Airport with kulula will cost you R730 and through Mango it will be R7 cheaper at R723.
Clearly an opportunity exist for low cost airlines to grab a piece of the Johannesburg Park Station pie by having an active presence there and selling air tickets directly to the many citizens who have never been inside an aeroplane in their lives before.
Many of them still associate airlines for being out of their rich, yet anyone can now fly without breaking the bank.
The masses will hugely benefit by killing an 18 hours road trip into a mere 2 hours by flying.
Maybe fastjet will be proactive enough and launch an outlet at Johannesburg Park Station when they officially take to the sky.