Millions rely on public transport in the metros and other Indian cities. And, a startup called Zophop is aiming to become a one-stop app that provides all the required information, such as timings and availability, for practically all modes of public transport in a city and lets you make bookings if possible.
Vinayak Bhavnani and Nikhil Aggarwal started Zophop in 2014 and it is currently available in 15 cities, viz. Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Nagpur, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur and Vijaywada.
In Mumbai, for instance, the Zophop app provides live tracking of buses. "We started our pilot testing by convincing conductors to download the app and check-in to places," Aggarwal told HuffPost India in the course of an extended interaction. "As the devices had GPS, we got to know where the buses were. Later, we partnered with authorities such as BEST and Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) to get GPS devices installed on the buses to have a more accurate reading."
The app enables users to search for scheduled timings for buses, trains, the metro, ferry services, cabs and any other mode of public transport. It also offers the best route option to reach somewhere through a combination of public transport including cabs. The user has to enter the destination and the app suggests the fastest and cheapest options. It also suggests route options with just buses, trains or cabs.
"There are a number of factors taken into consideration while choosing the routes," Bhavnani explained. "We consider changing time between transport modes, walking time and cost, among other attributes for traveling on that route."
Zophop has tied up with Uber to let users book a cab through its app and it has partnered with Jugnoo for the availability of auto-rickshaws. However, users can't book autos straight from the app.
There are plenty of personalisation options as well. You can set up your favorite routes and check on the available timings for transport options. You can also feed the app your preferred bus numbers and boarding stops to get live alerts for any buses nearby. The app has partnered with third party agencies to update users about traffic conditions as well.
With over 50,000 users already in its kitty, the next step for Zophop is to improve the user experience.
"Soon you will see a refreshed design of our app," Bhavnani said. "We have listened to the feedback from numerous people to work on the most anticipated features. Apart from that, we will make the navigation of the app easier for users."
Zophop is currently only available for Android-based smartphones.