Ganesh Chaturthi elevates demand for intercity bus travel across India

redBus ignites the holiday spirit with the launch of the ‘Download Cash’ festival

India: Intercity bus travel is back on track in a majority of the routes across the country, thanks to an air of positivity and inclination to travel, resulting from a seemingly tapering pandemic. Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most celebrated festivals in the country, is currently shaping travel demand which has now reached an undeniable inflection point.

Data from redBus, India’s largest online bus ticketing platform, indicates growth in bus bookings across India for the upcoming long week-end with Ganesh Chaturthi. About 7 lakh+ seats are projected to be booked during the festival period, with Maharashtra and Gujarat witnessing a significant increase in seats booked so far. Interestingly, bookings peaked 7 days prior to the festival, on 10th September, compared to 5 days last year, indicating greater intent and certainty of travel.

There has been a behavioural shift witnessed of late, post the second wave of COVID, largely due to a higher sense of safety induced by the decline in COVID cases, unrestricted travel within and across states, as well as a larger vaccinated populace. About 63% of the overall bookings are projected to come from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities & towns, signifying increased penetration & digitization across India.

About 2500+ Private Bus Operators and 21 State Regional Transport Corporations are gearing up to cater to the demand for the upcoming festival, by running around 42,000 services, covering 53,600 routes.

Data from redBus so far indicates that travel between Hyderabad and Bengaluru is the nation’s most sought after bus route, for Ganesh Chaturthi. It also indicates that the highest demand for travel is coming from Bengaluru across India.

About 54% of the current bookings are for travel within states and the remaining 46% for interstate travel. 73% of the current bookings have been made on Air-Conditioned buses.

The top 5 states where redBus is witnessing high demand for travel during Ganesh Chaturthi are, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.

Within each of these states, the top 3 routes are as follows:

State Routes (To & Fro)
Tamil Nadu Chennai-Madurai-Chennai,



Maharashtra Pune-Nagpur-Pune,



Gujarat Surat-Ahmedabad-Surat,



Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Hyderabad,



Karnataka Bengaluru-Bijapur-Bengaluru,



Another major impetus to the sector has been the recent opening up of borders between states that witness high bus travel, such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, while the passage between Kerala and Karnataka is still awaited.

Maharashtra is another state which has started showing positive recovery trends in terms of bookings and available services, with Mumbai – Kolhapur – Mumbai & Pune – Nagpur – Pune being the most booked routes prior to the festival. Majority of the travellers (52%) booked tickets on Tier 1 ↔ Tier 3 routes, indicating increased to and fro travel between cities and the hinterland.

On the resumption of demand for travel, starting Ganesh Chaturthi, Prakash Sangam, CEO, redBus, stated, “There is a strong underlying demand for travel in the market which is emerging post the second wave of COVID and this will only continue to grow from here all the way up to the end of the festive season, peaking once again during Dussehra and Diwali. If we don’t witness a significant third wave, we expect to reach pre-COVID levels of activity on our platform by early next year. At the moment, Ganesh Chaturthi is helping revive demand for intercity travel which is welcome news for our industry “