I just booked a seat on a coach heading to Kuala Lumpur online at Journey Malaysia for $45. On the weekend that just passed, I was at Queen Street and Golden Mile Complex going from one travel agency to another, hunting for the very same ticket departing on the evening of Hari Raya eve to no avail. This is the most common and probably the cheapest way to find your ticket out of Singapore and onto Malaysian soil.
What I did not expect was actually finding a website that allows me to make my reservation online without having to go through the hassle and inconvenience of being physically present at the travel agency. In fact of the 19 bus companies listed that ferries passengers between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, only 2 of them offers the online booking service. This is an interesting observation and even potential business idea.
Sure I may incur an additional transaction charge of 4% of the coach fare but that in itself is minimal compared to convenience I get from booking a seat from the comforts of my home and being able to compare departure times and costs at my fingertips. On the other hand, I am thankful that this service is not widely known among Singaporeans so I am still able to squeeze myself on board at such late notice departing on the eve of a public holiday.
However I can see potential resistance to the online model. Even though it might open up more revenue generating avenues through the online distribution channels, these companies focus primarily on local markets, are generally small and medium sized, may not want to invest in technology and incur additional administration and are probably too entrenched in the way they have operated over the last few decades. Also this will threaten the jobs of the many travel agents whose sole responsibility is to check bus vacancies and book travellers on the next one leaving for Malaysia.
Just a sidenote, from Google Analytics, it seems like there are a handful of people who return to my blog every couple of days for updates (my husband inclusive) and I am beginning to feel this responsibility to upkeep my blog with fresh content. Anyway I have been busy trying to beef up my Travel Log with all my past travels so while there are ‘fresh’ content, they are dated back to when the trip took place. I am also deciding whether to publish destination write-ups as blog posts or web pages…