Sleeper Buses in India: Everything You Need to Know Before Booking a Ticket

Sleeper buses in India are a great option for long distance travel. However, for foreigners and tourists, it could prove to be an overwhelming experience if you fail to choose the right bus.

If you search casually, the internet is full of such experiences! In fact, at a cursory glance, you might in fact end up getting a completely different perspective of Indian sleeper buses.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the world of sleeper buses in India. We will address questions about their safety, berth length and dimensions, hygiene facilities, and the luxurious offerings of Volvo sleeper buses.

Additionally, we will provide practical tips on how to book the ideal sleeper bus for your journey.

Let’s start with the basics then – understanding what sleeper buses in India are.

What are Sleeper Buses in India?

Veera V7 sleeper bus built by Veera Vahana Udyog Pvt. Ltd. PC: Hemant Autoclickz
A sleeper bus operated by VRL Logistics, one of the most reputed operators in India. PC: Hemant Autoclickz

A sleeper bus, in essence, is a rolling hotel room on wheels. It marries the efficiency of overnight travel with the comfort of a resting place, ensuring passengers arrive at their destination refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

As per ARAI, the Automotive Research Association of India, a sleeper bus refers to “a vehicle designed and constructed specially with berths to accommodate sleeping passengers.

To put it simply, sleeper buses are buses that feature berths (or bunks) for sleeping instead of seats. They are way more comfortable than seats when it comes to traveling long distances.

The concept of sleeper coach buses has gained significant traction in recent years, revolutionizing the way Indians travel long distances.

In a poll conducted by us last year, 94% of the respondents vouched their preference for sleeper buses when it comes to bus journeys beyond 300 km.

Understanding the Seating Layout of Indian Sleeper Buses

Sleeper Buses in India: Everything You Need to Know Before Booking a Ticket
Interior image of a Sleeper cum Seater Hybrid Bus in 2+1 layout. PC: Gobind Motors

Sleeper buses feature three main types of layouts:

  • 2+1 Layout: 2+1 refers to a sleeper configuration where there are two berths on one side of the aisle and one on the opposite side.
  • 2+2 Layout: In a 2+2 layout there are two sleeper berths on either side of the aisle.
  • Hybrid Layout: In this configuration, there are sleeper berths on the upper decks and seats (often with calf support) on the lower tier. These are locally called “Sleeper Cum Seater” and are listed as “Seater/Sleeper” in online ticket booking platforms.

As you can guess, the 2+1 layout offers more space and comfort compared to the more compact 2+2 configuration.

Since ARAI guidelines only permit the 2+1 layout in sleeper buses, about 80% of sleeper or hybrid buses in India are of 2+1 layout, especially on routes connecting major cities.

But you will often find sleeper and hybrid buses in 2+2 configuration as well, especially in sub-urban routes and economy buses.

Word of advice: Always prefer the 2+1 seating arrangement for a comfortable journey. If you are a female passenger, opt for one of the single berths, especially on the upper tier.

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How Many Seats Are There in a Sleeper Bus?

The number of seats in a sleeper bus depends on two main factors:

  • Length of the bus
  • Seating Layout

Long distance, luxury buses in India normally come in three length options – 12-meter, 13.5-meter, and 15-meter Volvo Multi-axle.

In a 12-meter sleeper bus in 2+1 layout, there are 30 sleeper berths in total. The newly introduced 13.5-meter sleeper buses have 36 berths in a 2+1 layout.

The 15-meter Volvo multi-axle bus offers 42 sleeper berths in 2+1 layout.

The following table outlines the specific number of seats and berths across different bus lengths in 2+1 configuration.

Bus LengthTypeLayoutNumber of SeatsNumber of BerthsTotal Capacity

Please note that the numbers in this table are as per the limits prescribed in the AIS-119, which is the Indian Government prescribed standards for Requirements for Sleeper Coaches.

Dimensions of Sleeper Bus Berths

According to AIS-119, the minimum length of a sleeper berth must be 70.8 inches, which is around 5 feet 11 inches.

The width of a single sleeper berth in 2+1 layout must be a minimum of 23.6 mm.

As someone who has audited more than a thousand buses in the last three years for IntrCity SmartBus, I can tell you that the real word numbers are a bit different from the prescribed guidelines.

In the real world, the most common length of a sleeper berth in India is 69 inches or 5 feet 9 inches. The width of a single sleeper ranges from 24-25 inches.

One important thing that I want to highlight here is that I have often seen buses where either the first or the last berth is shorter by a few inches.

My advice is to stay away from these berths.

Sleeper Bus Interiors in India

Sleeper buses in India have plush interior. Image of sleeper bus interior by MG Bus & Coach
Interior of sleeper bus in 2+1 layout built by MG Bus & Coach.

Modern sleeper buses in India feature plush interiors that are designed for comfort and convenience during long journeys.

Each berth is cushioned and comes with a clean set of bedding. Additionally, there are curtains or shutter partitions between berths to provide privacy.

Most sleeper buses have individual reading lights and charging points for electronic devices. Premium sleeper buses offer extra amenities like personal infotainment systems, WiFi, and even washrooms.

Overall, sleeper bus interiors are thoughtfully designed to provide a cozy resting space for passengers.

Are Sleeper Buses in India Comfortable?

Absolutely! If you know how to choose your bus properly, you will end up being a lifelong fan of Indian sleeper buses.

Most inter-city or interstate/intercity journeys in India could be long, ranging anywhere from 400 kms – 800 kms and sleeper buses can prove to be much more comfortable than buses with seats.

I mean, who would you want to spend 16 hours sitting in a bus when you can have enough space to lay down and enjoy the journey? 

This is how it feels to be inside a sleeper bus:

Do Sleeper Buses in India Have Toilets?

Sleeper Buses in India: Everything You Need to Know Before Booking a Ticket
Common types of toilets in Indian buses.

Well, although a lot of sleepers do in 2024, not all sleeper buses have integrated toilets in India.

You have to understand that toilets aren’t a staple feature in buses in India. It is a trend that started just a couple of years back, after corporate players started entering the bus industry.

But the trend is catching up fast. If you are booking a sleeper bus online in India, you can check the availability of toilets under the Amenities section.

If you are booking offline, you have to confirm it with your travel operator before booking. 

Why to Book a Sleeper Bus in India?

Buses are the most efficient and common form of interstate/intercity travel in India.

Well, trains could be more comfortable in some cases, but getting a confirmed train ticket in India is a big fight. Train tickets are mostly sold out weeks in advance. 

Unlike trains, sleeper buses in India can be booked online even at the last minute. The frequency of buses is impressive throughout India and bus ticket prices in India are comparatively cheaper as well. 

How To Book a Sleeper Bus Online in India? 

Buses are readily available and can be booked online easily in India. Almost all the Government Road Transport Corporations have their own booking sites.

Most major bus operators also offer online, ticketless bookings.

Or you could opt for a third-party aggregator app.

By far, redBus is the most popular and convenient bus ticketing platform in India followed by IntrCity SmartBus by

You can check our list of the 5 best online bus booking platforms in India.

On the redbus interface (shown below), or the app, you can check out a slew of details including pictures of the bus, seating layout, as well as user ratings before deciding to book a ticket.  

Image showing redbus' booking interface to demonstrate how to book a sleeper bus online in India.

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Which is the Most Comfortable Seat in a Sleeper Bus?

The most comfortable seats in a sleeper bus in India are the upper berths. If traveling alone, you should opt for a single upper berth and have the best in comfort & privacy.

Also, the best position on a sleeping bus would be the second or third compartment. This is because these compartments are within the wheelbase and are least affected by bumps and jerking.

Moreover, in the event of an accident, the middle rows are strategically placed to incur the least damage, given their distance from both the front and rear of the bus.


To cut it short, sleeper buses in India are a great way of traveling throughout India. They are exceptionally comfortable, the route network is pretty extensive, ticket prices are pocket-friendly, and best of all you can book them at late notice. 

But all this holds only if you know how to choose the right bus! Now that you have read the entire article, and have a fair idea about bus layouts, berth dimensions, and tips on booking online, you will agree that choosing the right sleeper bus is not tricky at all.

Just remember to check out the bus pictures and reviews thoroughly before booking your ticket. 

Our advice would be to:  

  • Go for a sleeper bus with 2×1 layout
  • Avoid the first and last berths
  • If you are a solo female traveler, book a single berth preferably on the upper tier
  • Check out bus pictures, amenities provided, and user ratings before you book
  • Have a seamless journey that you will remember for years.

Happy journey!

If you find this article valuable, please consider sharing it with your friends and family so that they can also benefit from the information and insights provided and can make informed choices while booking sleeper buses in India.


Are Indian sleeper buses in India comfortable?

Are sleeper buses in India Safe?

What is 2+2 in a sleeper bus?

What does 2+1 sleeper bus seats Mean?

Are there Volvo sleeper buses in India?

How many people can sleep in a sleeper bus?

How many seats does a sleeper bus have?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can 3 person accomodomate in double sleepee berth?

    1. No. Single person on individual berths. That means only two persons can accommodate in the shared sleeper that has two berths.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I got good knowledge and most wanted information about these buses as i am 6.3 ht so i was looking f9r some information on this thank u

    1. For 6’3″, a single sleeper might be a little uncomfortable for you. You can book both the shared sleepers for some extra space.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We have 11 person how many sleepers should book

  4. Anonymous says:

    How does a couple book a sleeper bus from Pune to mumbai?

  5. can couple book 1 sleeper seat In 2+1 sleeper bus????

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