Moving around Mumbai
Hailing a cab or switching to a bus? Here are the apps that will help you navigate the city's roads in private and public vehicles
Everyone knows that using public transport in Mumbai can be a pain. You stand in long queues for tickets, wait a long time for a crowded bus or face refusal from auto and taxi drivers. However, using public transport is not only quick in some cases, it is also environmentally friendly. To make this easier, let technology solve some common problems.
Yulu: Yulu is an excellent bicycle and electric cycle rental service that is economical for last-mile connections. For example, going from the station to your office complex. They aren't available everywhere yet, but when they do make it to your neighbourhood you will wonder what you did without them. You will need to know how to cycle to use the vehicles.
The city has many options that let you hire a cab online. The most popular are Ola and Uber. I usually compare the prices and use the one with the best deal, especially when surge pricing kicks in. If you plan your day well, you can mostly avoid these. Always look for the auto option—they are much cheaper for short distances and rarely have a surge. If surge pricing gets out of hand, it might be a good idea to go back to good old Meru. During non-peak hours, Meru might be the more expensive option, but during peak hours Meru cabs are more economical because their pricing doesn't change.
Ridlr: The Metro came around a while back and even now if you are not a daily commuter, you will have to stand in line to get a ticket. Ridlr saves you the trouble and you can either buy a pass or load a Store Value Pass that lets you keep a balance that diminishes every time you take a trip. Ridlr also let's you buy tickets on BEST and NMMT buses. However, I have never personally tried it.
UTS: Standing in line for tickets at a station can be pain. With the UTS app not only can you book a ticket anytime you want, but you can also book your season ticket directly. There is one caveat: if a ticket checker catches you when travelling and your phone is dead, you will have to pay a fine as you will be treated as a ticketless traveller.
If public transport is not your thing, bus services like Shuttl guarantee a nice little seat on an air-conditioned bus. However, these buses only operate during peak hours and are not ideal for unscheduled travel. There are set routes, so you will have to figure out if they have one near your place. Also, check out CityFlo and GoKruz that offer similar services with some route variations.
m-Indicator: m-Indicator's importance cannot be understated. It has everything from rickshaw rates to live train tracking, and even timings of ferries across Mumbai jetties. It is an invaluable app for anyone who plans to use the public transport in the city.
Google Maps: Google Maps are great because they give near-accurate time estimates and you can even select the time at which you intend to travel and it will predict traffic. You can also check approximate cab rates, public transport routes and walking routes from the app.
China's tech giants to take on Google
Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have created a unified platform for developers to upload apps to all their platforms. The Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA) will challenge the dominance of Google Play Store, and make it easier for developers to market their apps. The move may be a direct result of the US ban on Huawei last year. GDSA was initially set to launch in March. It will initially cover nine regions including India, Indonesia and Russia.
The Honor 9X is a pretty decent low-cost alternative. It looks good and does basic operations very well. The company is pushing this as a low-cost gaming phone, but in reality, it just scrapes by while playing heavy triple A titles. The camera on the phone is pretty good, so if you need a phone for taking selfies and pictures, this is not a bad option. Look for sales if you plan to buy.
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