Mumbaikars spend an average of 230 hours per year waiting for a bus

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Commuters in India are spending an average of 45 minutes traveling one way as compared to 33 minutes spend by commuters in US on the one way daily travel. Commuters in Mumbai spend an average of 138 minutes, 2.3 hours everyday traveling to work while those in Delhi spend 1.7 hours. Though average both ways travel time for Delhi is relatively less than that of Mumbai, carbon dioxide emissions for the capital stand at  10,305.60 gms as compared  7,043.64 gms in Mumbai.

But before we go into more details let us understand what traffic congestion is –

Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing.  As demand approaches the capacity of a road (or of the intersections along the road), extreme traffic congestion sets in. Traffic congestion can lead to drivers becoming frustrated and engaging in road rage.

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Traffic congestion, jams occur when there are more cars on the road than the road was originally designed for.  One might think that increasing the road capacity might ease this congestion but according to a 2011 study in the The American Economic Review, researchers from the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics, analyzed data from the U.S. Highway Performance and Monitoring System for 1983, 1993 and 2003, as well as information on population, employment, geography, transit, and political factors. They determined that the number of vehicle-kilometers traveled (VKT) increases in direct proportion to the available lane-kilometers of roadways. The implication is that building new roads and widening existing ones only results in additional traffic that continues to rise until peak congestion returns to the previous level.

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Instead Economist Anthony Downs argues that rush hour traffic congestion is inevitable because of the benefits of having a relatively standard work day ( too many people having the same routine, too many people using the same limited utilities). Downs advocates greater use of road pricing to reduce congestion (a demand-side solution, effectively rationing demand), in turn plowing the revenues generated therefrom into public transportation projects. Yes, he suggests that if people start paying for their road usage then perhaps traffic congestion might decrease. While we have already seen this implemented in the country in the form of toll booths on newly constructed highways, one wonders how the people who use cars as their main means of transportation, 56.57% in Delhi versus 25% in Mumbai, might react to this. 

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There are more people on roads, there are more cars on roads, than there were in the previous years and with every passing year these are going to increase and increase. Below are a few negative impacts these increasing numbers and traffic congestion have – 

  • Wasting time of motorists and passengers.
    – As a non-productive activity for most people, congestion reduces regional economic health.
    – Delays, which may result in late arrival for employment, meetings, and education, resulting in lost business, disciplinary action or other personal losses.
    – 
    Inability to forecast travel time accurately, leading to drivers allocating more time to travel “just in case”, and less time on productive activities.
  • Environment Downside
    Wasted fuel increasing air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions owing to increased idling, acceleration and braking.
  • Delays in Emergency situations
    – Blocked traffic may interfere with the passage of emergency vehicles traveling to their destinations where they are urgently needed – ambulances, fire brigades, police help etc.
  • Stress
    – Stressed and frustrated motorists, encouraging road rage and reduced health of motorists
    – Higher chance of collisions due to tight spacing and constant stopping-and-going.

We think the most negative impact is the waste of time lost in commuting from one place to another. As real estate prices soar and people live farther and farther away from their work, a lot of time is lost not just in commuting but also waiting for the mass transit modes. People in Mumbai who take the bus everyday to work spend an average of 19 minutes waiting as opposed to the 6 minutes spent by the people in Delhi. 19 minutes spent waiting for a one way trip, everyday, accumulates to 13870 minutes an year, which is a total of 230 hours. Add to this the average 71 minutes one way travel time by buses, which totals to 863 hours in an year for the average Mumbaikar. 

Solutions and suggestions have been made aplenty and mostly revolve around improving the road structure, better urban planning and design, controlling the supply and demand both of people and cars. But the problem with these solutions is that they will take time to implement and take an even longer time to show positive results. And, ironically it is only time that we do not seem to have. 

A present day solution to this problem is the availability of accurate real-time commute information, a solution already adopted and implemented in the western world. On our side of the fence, while we wait for the administration to modernize the entire commute infrastructure, small steps are being taken by varied entrepreneurs to provide solutions to connecting and commuting problems. On demand cab and taxi services are on a rise and a small initiative has been taken by us, at zophop, to provide real-time bus information for 15 cities in India.

Using the Check-In feature, this crowdsourced effort gives better information each time more people use it. You can now view buses in real-time and get ETA to your stops too – 

A bus moving in real-time in Mumbai

A bus moving in real-time in Mumbai

Number of buses with real time information at 10:07 in Mumbai

Number of buses with real time information at 10:07 in Mumbai

real time ETA to next stop

real time ETA to next stop


You can get the app here from Google PlayStore. Do Check-In while traveling and contribute to this crowdsourcing initiative – the more people use it, the more information everyone gets.


Average waiting times, traffic index, one way road trip times, percentage usage of transit means, economic theories and definitions have been referenced from from Wikipedia and Numbeo.

 

4 Things about Chennai Metro Rail

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The Chennai Metro Rail service was launched by Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha today. The 10 km stretch that has been flagged off connects Koyambedu and Alandur metro stations. The elevated stretch includes seven stations that would be covered in 18 minutes.

Here are a few more facts about the Chennai Metro –

1. Minimum fare-Rs.10/-
2. Chennai is the 6th city to get metro in India
3. The metro rail has been designed to connect Chennai Airport, Chennai Central railway station, Egmore Station, CMBT and MRTS
4. Blue Line & Green Lines are the two lines available

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zophop’s Live Trips

When you open the Near You feature in the app there is a very curious Live Trips option right next to Stations –

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The Live Trips feature shows the number of Live Trips in your city in real time. What this means is that commute options in your city like bus or train or metro or mono which have been Checked-In by zophop users are live for everyone to see in real time( To know to how use zophop’s Check-In read this). So now you can see the live location of your bus or train on the map. You can see it move towards you in real time!

A normal Live Trips page looks something like this –

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All those icons are Checked-In commute vehicles. Do you see the bus 123 Borivali Station E, can you see where it is on its route?


To see buses and trains move in real time in your city download zophop mobile app today.

Check all commute options around you in one Click!


Today let us tell you about a feature
which will help you save tonnes of time,
a feature which is not just very convenient to use
but also immensely helpful.


zophop – Near You

As commuters wouldn’t it be just fantastic if on just one click you could get the departure details of all modes of transport-bus,train,metro,mono- around you?

We thought so too and therefore built the Near You feature in our app.

Click on it and viola! You can view all commute options near by, specific to your current location –

You choose your transit option from the menu on top, change between train, bus, metro or mono. And here is the best part, if you click on the train icon, you get the immediate departure details for your next train –

This is still not the best part. See the small tab titled Live Trips on the top? When you select this you can view Checked-in Live Trips, that is you can see buses and trains move in real time –


You no longer have to check schedules or time tables for commute options nearby, you can get all the information needed in just one click. Pretty neat what technology can do for you right?

10 Problems Commuters in India Face


We have solved four of major ten major problems daily commuters in India face, the government should take care of the rest.


An effective public transportation system is a must-must for the smooth functioning of any urban city. But is the current system adequate enough to support the growing needs of Indian commuters?

We don’t think so.

Here’s a list of 10 problems commuters in India face:

1. Time? Platform Number??? ….ARGH
Unlike movie show timings and schedules, finding out exact bus, metro and train schedules online can be a major challenge.

Point-1

2. Really an auto is that cheap here?
Suppose you are new to a city and want to know exactly how much you will be spending while commuting. Well, you can’t plan your expenses as this information will be made available to you only when you reach the metro/railway station or sit in that bus.

Point-2

3. How far is the bus-stop from my house?
Unless you are willing to ask people around, there is no easy way to know which public commute stop- be it a bus stop or a metro station- is near you.

Point-3

4.How can I get here Fast??
How do you decide whether you should commute via metro or hire a cab or take a bus while traveling to an unknown destination in your city? You can ask people around for their opinion but can never be sure about it.

Point-4

5. Crowded trains and buses
Trains and buses can get so crowded and suffocating, you feel like taking a shower after every trip. Sometimes commuters cannot even look outside the window to see the station/stop name and end up missing their destinations.

Point-5

6. Wtf…how much longer do I have to wait for my bus?
If you have commuted through buses, you will know that they always run late and you cannot tell how far the bus is from the stop and how much longer you will have to wait to catch it.

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7. No thanks, I think I will hold it in
Inadequate number of toilets for men and women, non-working flush, wet and unclean floor and poor maintenance are just some of the issues you will face while using toilets in a railway or a metro station.

Point-7

8. Poor condition of roads
Potholes, water-clogging during monsoons, never-ending construction sites and other issues that impact the condition of roads affect your commuting experience and increase the time taken to reach your destination.

Point-8

9. Lack of public transportation facilities in residential colonies
So your place of origin or destination happens to be in a residential colony. Be prepared to commute via your own vehicle or hire auto-rickshaws and cabs as chances are that buses would not be plying in these colonies.

Point-9

10. Traffic Congestion
Due to industrialization and rise in vehicle ownership, our roads have become extremely congested and commuting can be quite a pain especially during office hours.

Point-10

Zophop Introduces Check-In

It’s kinda crazy in our since last night, and we are pretty excited. We released an update for Zophop last night introducing India’s first commute crowd-sourcing experiment. Yes, the rumour is true. Now you can see buses and trains move in real-time.


What is Check-In?

Check-In is our latest offering to make the common man’s life more easy. You no longer have to spend those precious hours of your life waiting for that bus which is always late. Using Zophop now you can see your bus move through the city towards your bus-stop.


What happens when you Check-In?

-Once you Check-In your bus or train goes live for every one to see. People waiting at the next bus/train stop will be able to get updated real-time information based on your Check-In.
-You get an estimated time to your destination.
-You no longer have to worry about falling asleep in a bus or train any more. When you Check-In, you get voice alerts for every next stop till you reach your destination.


If you getting late for work or to meet your family or friends, using Check-In you can also share your live details – location, estimated times- with them. 


When does one Check-In?

As soon as you board a bus or a train.


How does Check-In work?  Power back to the Common Man

Check-In is a crowd-sourcing initiative. The more people contribute to it, the better information everyone gets. It is an app by the people for the people. For example people usually post tweets or message when they are stuck in traffic jams. But this information reaches a limited number of users. Bus delays and live routes can now be available for everyone with a mobile to see using Check-in.