Sunday, July 7, 2013

Smartphone apps make Mumbaikars’ commute easy

Software developer Chetan Temkar was unsure of which BEST bus to take, at what time and on which route, in order to commute smoothly; he wanted to know the suburban train timetable as well.

IT professional Kiran Ambardekar and his friends were confused about taxi and auto fares, especially waiting charges, which they felt were always inflated. They also weren't sure the meters weren't rigged.

Engineering student Rishabh Jhunjhunwala and his friends wanted to save money by sharing an auto with commuters at Andheri station. They felt this would also help reduce congestion and road pollution.

These three have now come up with a solution that's also made other Mumbaikars' commute easier: they have developed apps which help thousands access railway/BEST timetables, provide fare charts and details on routes.

"There are now at least two dozen mobile apps. They are a commuter's best friend," said Temkar, who developed the popular app, Smartshehar, which assists with bus and train travel.

"We wanted citizens to save time and energy in planning a trip and depend less on announcement," he said.

Ambardekar, who developed an app which tracks auto meters, said, "Hundreds of commuters felt auto drivers charged them excess fares. So we gave them a meter on their phone. This can be used to cross-check the meter's functioning. Our app, Pay Rite Fare, also helps check waiting charges, real-time," he said. Pay Rite Fare has been used not only by nearly 10,000 people taking autos and taxis in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai but by those in Pune, Ahmedabad and Delhi as well.

Jhunjhunwala, a college student, said he created the app Meter Share with two friends so that three persons getting off at Andheri station could share a rickshaw. "The app can now be used at any suburban station."

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