Colombiabus newsroom– William Marroquín / Abrati
COMPANIES BET ON A PROMPT RECOVERY OF DEMAND
Passenger transport companies are betting on strong demand since the last quarter of 2021, when the majority of Brazilians will probably already be vaccinated against the coronavirus. This projection is based on several factors, the certainty of a repressed pandemic demand, the high costs of air tickets and the immense supply of national tourist destinations with outdoor attractions. Added to this is the incomparable capillarity and frequency of the range of destinations offered by the regular bus system.
This sentiment is collected by the Brazilian Association of Intetestatal Land Transport – Abrati, which groups together most of the country’s companies, several of them of great renown such as Expresso Brasileiro, Viacao Catarinense, Viacao Garcia, Gontijo, Viacao Cometa, Auto Viacao 1001, Andorina, Aguiabranca, among others. The companies, before the pandemic, had invested about 1,000 million dollars between 2017 and 2020 and now, they expect to invest about 3 trillion reais (about US $600 million) in the next two years. The resources hope to allocate them beyond the improvement in the organizational structure of the companies.
Investments, although they slowed down between 2020 and 2021, but they did not stop. Now they hope to resume them to motivate the traveler with renewed vehicles. Some companies such as Gontijo, the new orders from Boa Esperança and the scheduled renewals of the JCA group, a major operator in the country, are signs of the initial steps being taken to prepare for reactivation.
The second aspect has to do with alliances and integration with other means of transport. Companies know that they must offer more than mobility and take their customers from one place to another; therefore packages integrating accommodation and tourist experiences, interconnection and a better sales promotion are ready. For example, Aguiabranca hopes to develop the travel agency model, others have points of sale at airports such as Real Expresso in Brasília, da Cometa in Guarulhos, Autoviacao 1001 and Rio de Janeiro, or even the integration between the bus terminal and the airport that It is about to be completed in the city of Porto Alegre.
The benefits for travelers are also expected to be extended within this investment plan: on the one hand, the improvement of loyalty and rewards programs to encourage customers. On the other hand, the GBS group (Viacao Garcia – Brasil Sul) has piloted the «easy baggage check» to speed up boarding and allow the traveler to take better advantage of the services of the large terminals. Also, the proposals of podcasts and advice through platforms offered by the Guanabara Group that offer information about the route and points of interest.
With the increase in the service offer and the conditions for citizens to travel, together with the long-awaited immunization, it is expected that companies will begin to resume the dynamics that existed between 2017 and 2019, when the country was beginning to emerge from an economic crisis, until the arrival of the pandemic, which generated a great setback.