An appy new way to ride trains

Mobile is everywhere, also in trains! Image Courtesy:

Like most Indians I travel on a train for most of my personal travel. This long-weekend trip to Varanasi was my 6th holiday that used a train in past 12 months. Normally I use a variety of online services during the trip, but it was different this time. This occasion was remarkable in my use of a mobile app in every aspect of the travel:

  1. RailYatri*: Ever since I have discovered this app, it has not disappointed me during a search for any train-related information. Right from PNR status to platform information to train schedules, or simply using the ‘CheckMySpeed’ feature for a geeky kick, this app has everything in it. Today it has become the default center of all my holidays. So much so, I wish there was one single app that could provide all this information for my (mostly business) air travel.
  2. TripAdvisor: Everyone loves TA. Right from finding the best hotels to finding the best places to visit locally to figuring the typical auto fare from Mughal Sarai to Godholia, you get everything there. We discovered Hotel Alka on it, also planned the local itinerary using the community content on the app.
  3. IRCTC Official App: For obvious reasons. The best part? It is surprisingly efficient!
  4. MakeMyTrip: In my experience, MMT always shows the best hotel deals. It was a no-brainer to book Hotel Alka on the app and avail their fantastic discounts too!
  5. RailTiffin: We discovered it using RailYatri and used their mobile website to make the booking. So, it isn’t an ‘app’ I used, but the service was fantastic anyway. We dread the pantry food and RailTiffin provided lovely Jain options and good tasting food, delivered hot at Allahabad station.
  6. TaxiForSure* and Ola: TFS is anyway my default choice for local transport across India, but the prompt service in Varanasi was a certain life-saver. At a moment when auto drivers were unwilling to go to Manduadih station (just 3.1 Km away), I hailed two TFS cabs and paid by wallet. On New Delhi station, I hailed three different autos using the OlaCabs app, beating the long queue at the Prepaid counter. Even paid one of the autos using OlaMoney!

On the return journey I figured this was one of the first ever trips where I didn’t use desktop web for anything, probably for the first time ever. And I don’t even mind it. Love the way our world is evolving!

(* – Blume Ventures has an investment in RailYatri and in OlaCabs through TaxiForSure acquisition)

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