With more and more people clustering to the cities, travelling via public transport becomes almost an essential part of being able to get around. There are apps out there that help, like m-Indicator for Android and Meter Down for iOS (developed by Siddharth Banerjee) and another to join that extremely useful list is Mumbai on the Go, which is currently only available for iOS. The application was developed by Mikhail Madnani and Adib Parkar, calling themselves Angry Goo Dev. They both shared 50 percent of the coding. Madnani worked on the design and layout, while Parkar did the database. The application gives you information for the four major forms of transportation in Mumbai: bus, taxi, auto and train. The application downloads all the information to your iPhone or iPod Touch, so you do not need to have a data connection to map your route.
The main layout
Design and Layout
When you launch the application, the four transport options are clearly laid out in front of you. The taxi and auto sections are pretty straightforward with a scroll to find the meter reading with the corresponding price, as well as a space to enter the meter reading by typing it out. Both day and nights rates are given. The information tab next to the space to type out meter reading explains fare breakdowns as well as explains during which hours night fares are applicable. The interesting addition is fares for radio taxis are laid out as well. The bus section can be a little complicated to those who aren't too familiar with the bus system in Mumbai, but it's actually a lot easier to grasp than, if you were to go to a bus stand and try to get information there. Bus information is divided by bus stop, bus number and then there's a from and to feature. The colour scheme is very simple, which makes it easier for your eyes to get to the information you need.
Main layout for bus information
The biggest advantage of this application is that it contains a lot of valuable information in one place. While it might have a similar format to Meter Down, the latter has seperate applications for taxis and autos and no applications for buses and trains. That being said, Mumbai on the Go is a paid app, while Meter Down is free. One feature I did like a lot, and did not find on other travel information-based apps is train ticket fares and bus fares. When you add your origin and destination in the trains section, you will also find the amount a first class ticket and a second class ticket will cost for that amount.
The train interface with pass prices
Also a nice addition is the specific train times. The bus section, also, has an entire information section on the various types of passes and how much they cost. As mentioned earlier, the taxi section also includes fares for radio taxis. When you select a specific bus route, the app will show you how many stops and which stops are along the journey. This is especially helpful to those who are not familiar with the bus system and neither the bus driver, nor the conductor yell out stop names. This also means you have your phone or iPod out and are keeping track, which might be difficult in an extremely crowded bus.
Bus pas scheme information
There are a few features, I think any such travel app should have, but integrating some of these features may be beyond the reach of the developer or may negate the purpose of the app. If someone is not too familiar with one or more of the modes of public transport, especially buses and trains, they might have a little trouble figuring out where to start. Literally. I may not know which train station is closest to me and that would require the app to use GPS or ask for a start point. Essentially what would be useful is an entire trip planner, where the app would tell me how to get from my origin to my destination using multiple forms of transport. That would include a taxi to a bus stop, a bus to the train station and finally, which train to take to the destination. However, for one, such a feature might require a data connection. If it didn't, the app would be humongous to download as it would have to contain all this information. Furthermore, the city itself needs to get better about addresses, particularly of bus stops, and not have them be landmarks.
Another feature that might be helpful to those who don't mind using their data is adding location-based features to the application. For instance, if you are in a certain area, a Google Places type feature might help to provide information on nearby restaurants, landmarks and attractions. A choice might have to be coded in to allow the app to use location information as well as data. Madnani, one of the developers on the app did say that on older devices, detecting Internet can be faulty. Once dectection of Internet is better on older devices, such a feature might be added.
I think this application is extremely handy to have around, especially when you're making new journeys (your routine journeys, you'd know by now). It costs $1.99, which is a small price to pay to have all your information in one place. Essentially, it has something for everyone. If you're someone who may or may not take a cab too often, there is information in the app to help prevent you from being scammed. If you're relatively new to the train or bus system, or even if you're seasoned, but want to explore other routes, you have some help at your fingertips. The app has had its share of success. Close to when it was launched, it stayed in the number one spot among paid apps in the iOS App Store in India. Now, it's number 26 among top paid apps in India in the App Store.
Info for autos
I got talking to Mikhail Madnani about the application a little more and users can expect updates soon. He said that the next update will come at the end of March and will feature bus route changes as well as a design update. The target demographic for this application is mostly iPod Touch users and some iPhone users. He said the fact of the matter is that most iPhone users will not take a bus. Travellers too could use the application. As far as expansion of the application goes, Windows Phone will be next, but right now the market for Windows Phone apps is a little young. The app will remain a paid app, because Madnani detests ads in apps. Android is probably not on the horizon, because the ecosystem is too unregulated and he frankly hates the language. The problem with expanding the apps to other cities is a standardization issue with the forms of transport for other cities, but a few might be in the works. What he does pride himself on is the rapidity of updates. The last time BEST changed fares, an updated app was approved and ready for download within 6 days. Of course, the major complaints that he receives are that it's a paid app and that it's not available for Android. As far as the money goes, development is not a casual activity for him. He says he needs to make a living from it. The app is $2 because, in his own words, "No one wants to take a $1 app seriously".
To download Mumbai on the Go, visit the iOS App Store and to stay in touch with them on Twitter, their handle is @MumbaiOnTheGo. The app is available for $1.99 (approx Rs.96), but just today, the 1st of March, it is available for half price at $0.99 (approx Rs.49).
A Lite version of the app is also available from the iOS App Store, but only features one of the four train lines in the city and does not have all the various ways you can search for bus routes in the city that the Paid app does. You can only view the buses at a particular bus stop and the first and last stop on any bus route.
Published Date: Mar 01, 2012 12:30 pm | Updated Date: Mar 01, 2012 12:30 pm