There are two full-form of the letters ‘K.K’ from ‘K.K Travels’- first, K.K stands for ‘Kedar Kasar’, who is the owner of K.K Travels and secondly, K.K stands for ‘King of the Kings’, which shows us the thought behind the services provided by the company. Every traveller that sits in a K.K Travels vehicle is considered a King and is treated as one too. Several such ‘Kings’ travel from Pune to Mumbai and from Mumbai to Pune everyday through the vehicles of K.K Travels.
The bands were playing loudly, announcing the arrival of the Ganesh festival, the kids were playing around, people were rushing around to prepare for the festival. In all this hustle-bustle, my eyes were drawn to a particular article in the newspaper, “K.K’s expressway on the route of hard work”. I thought, K.K must mean K.K Travels and started reading the article out of curiosity.After reading the article, I discovered that K.K means Kedar Kasar. I wanted to meet him, and through God’s grace, I got the chance to interview him in a college on World Tourism Day.
Q) How was K.K Travels’s foundation built?
KK) I knew vehicles really well since I had a degree in Automobile Engineering. I also had 2 years of experience as a ‘Vehicle Maintenance and Administration Incharge’ in the Gulf, from 1985 to 1987. The seeds of starting my own business were planted in my mind during this period. I started working towards the aim of starting my own business in the year 1988 and opened my own garage in Sahakar Nagar in Pune. I bought a Maruti van while repairing vehicles like Loona, M-50, M-80 etc. I was the owner and the driver of this van. I drove several people to the Mumbai Airport with this van and I slowly started to understand the customer’s needs and requirements. Once I understood that it was important to reach the airport in time, I started paying more attention to it. I started working towards the dream of starting this business.
Q) ‘Working hard towards your dream is the way to success’. How did you start working towards your dream?
KK) Slowly, the customers travelling from Pune-Mumbai or Mumbai-Pune started increasing. So, it was getting difficult to only rely on that one van. In those days, a reliable S.T bus or a railway was not available to reach the Mumbai Airport. Therefore, I rented an air conditioned bus in 1995 and advertised about it in Koregaon Park. Everyday, the bus used to leave for Mumbai at 4:30 pm and depart for Pune at 6:30 pm. However, the problems did not cease to exist even after renting the bus.
The aeroplanes had diverse flight schedules, and the demand for our service was never-ending.
Q) ‘Hurdles inspire new ideas’. Do you agree with this saying?
KK) Yes, we can say that hurdles do inspire new ideas. By that time, we had understood that we were not able to satisfy the expectations and the demands of the customers, even if the bus was running on time. While trying to find out a solution to this problem, we came up with the idea of ‘Shared Cabs’ in 2007. While discussing this idea, we thought that it was better to pick up the customers from their homes, instead of calling them to some different place. The customers need to carry quite an amount of luggage while travelling and they will need to look for another vehicle to get to the pick-up spot. It gets difficult to shift the luggage from one vehicle to another all the time. If the customer is an elderly person, the process gets even more difficult. Instead of all this trouble, if people share one cab, they can save their money as well as the efforts. We got a huge response to this idea and K.K became a brand of travelling to the Mumbai airport.
Q)Does K.K mean Kedar Kasar?
KK) Actually, it is more of a co-incidence than a planned move. If you look at the logo of K.K Travels, you will be able to see a crown. K.K actually means ‘King of Kings’. Once a customer sits in one of our cabs, s/he is akin to a King. We consider our customers as Kings and treat them as Kings. Therefore, King of Kings, aka. K.K. If you take a look at our tagline, it is ‘Miles of Smiles’. The thought behind it is that the customers should be happy and feel very comfortable during their travel through our cabs.We have been able to serve 15 lakh customers to this day, thanks to this thought behind our service.
Q) How do you take care of your customers? Can you tell us some of your experiences?
KK) If the customers are the Kings, then we must take care of them. First of all, our service is open 24/7 and anyone can book our cabs at any time of the day, from any place. Our 300 cabs, 600+ vehicles(cars) and more than 400 workers are working hard to give top-notch quality service to our customers. Our contacts are displayed on our website, so the customers can contact us at any time they want. Our workers give them the information they require.
We know that the customer’s time and money is very important. Our cars drive on every route every half an hour, so any problem gets resolved quickly. We give importance to the service, safety, driver control, the use of GPS and comfort level. So, once we add a customer, s/he almost becomes one of us!
I would definitely like to share a few experiences as examples. Mrs. Namita Kohak, International Worldwide Queen 2015 expressed her satisfaction by saying that any woman can travel at any time of the day safely with our service. Datta Bhalerao confidently expressed that everyone knew about K.K Travels in Nashik, while stating that K.K Travels played a big role in helping Nashik get the status of a historical, geographical and tourist station. Anjali Butle, who travels between Mumbai and Nashik every week gave credit to the drivers’ sincerity, timely services, and the fact that even her family is assured of her security whenever she travels with K.K Travels. We get similar, satisfied reactions from our customers all the time. We have added economy, premium and luxury choices for people travelling to Mumbai, after looking at the customer’s preferences. We can say that we have become successful in keeping our customers happy.
Q)What is the concept behind the ‘Nari Cabs’?
KK) The ‘Nari Cabs’ mean the ‘Cabs for women by women’. These days, even the ladies have started visiting other countries for education or tourism purposes. However, it is not possible for someone from the family to accompany the person all the time. K.K Travels’ Nari Cabs come to the rescue during such times. In Nari Cabs, the driver and the traveller, both are ladies. Therefore, the ladies can travel on their own without any fear or tension.
Even this scheme has been getting a good response, but not as much as other schemes.
Q)The 21st century is the age of technology. How has this technology been helping the business to grow?
KK) The technology has definitely been helping the business a lot. Before, when mobiles were not available, communicating any problem while travelling took a lot of time. But now, we come to know of any problems immediately. Today, every driver has a mobile with SMS feedback services, every car comes with speed governors, CCTV cameras, GPS services, etc. So we can monitor everything, while sitting at our office in Katraj. Because of this, discipline is automatically observed all the time. Even if it is important to know the new and upcoming technology, I would suggest the younger generation to keep themselves away from Facebook and Whatsapp. Use the time wasted on such social media applications on doing something productive.
Q) Apart from your professional identity, you are also known as a Nature lover. Would you tell us more about your love for nature?
KK) I really love animals. Actually, rather than loving animals, I am passionate about animals. Because of my passion, I have nine dogs, a few hens, ducks and fishes. I have adopted a pair of lions called ‘Tejas’ and ‘Subbi’ from the Katraj zoo, and also look after 10 orphan kids every year. Along with this, I think that saving water is a big requirement of today’s age. Therefore, I give a lot of importance to water conservation and the reuse of used water. Along with this, I always aim to strengthen the relationship between man and nature by using solar power whenever possible. My family plays a big role in my professional and other work as well. My wife, Kanchan, my daughter, Madhura and my nephew, Hrishikesh help me a lot in my business. They handle the responsibilities at the office at Katraj. We have other corporate offices in Pune, Nashik and Mumbai as well. There are more than 200 associate shareholders. K.K Travels’ business has grown a lot.
Q) What are some of the new projects that you have started recently?
KK) Every field has a lot of opportunities to grow and progress. The business that started from a single Maruti van, has now reached the amount of several crores. We are opening an eco friendly resort at the foot of the Torna Fort, in the village of Velhe aimed towards conservation of nature. We also want to enter the Agro Tourism and Hotel businesses. We are bringing the concept of ‘Fixed Group Departure’ in practice where we can enjoy some time in a foreign country. We are also starting something called ‘self drive car’. Some people want to drive the car themself. We are fulfilling this wish of our customers soon as well. We keep coming up with something new as time goes on. If the idea is a good one, we should definitely think about it.
Mr. Kedar Kasar’s business, which started out with just one car has grown a lot within a very short period of time. We never see any external expression of this growth. Instead, we see him valuing the thought that the customer should always be satisfied and happy with the services provided. He gives the credit of his success to everyone, from his family, to the workers. He maintains his social relations well and calls people to meet him at the office as well. The customers feel at ease with K.K Travels’ services because of such good qualities.
I am sure, that Kedar Kasar’s future is very bright.