Standing at a bus stop and wondering about the route the bus takes is a common occurrence. Imagine having a device that would guide you through all the bus routes in the city. To ease this difficulty, Kandivali resident Raxit Sheth has created a mobile phone application that helps you get the bus routes and bus route numbers on your mobile phone. “Bus routes are available on the internet but today everybody carries a mobile phone so they would prefer it that way,” says Sheth. This project is titled ‘Mobile 4 Mumbai’.
The idea struck Sheth about four months ago when somebody at the bus stop asked him about a bus route. “I am new to Mumbai and have lived in Gujarat all my life. If a local person is confused about routes, imagine the plight of a newcomer,” says Sheth. He casually mentioned his desire to create such an application to his colleague at Polaris Software Labs Ltd., Deepa Kapadia who liked the idea and the duo began programming the application two months ago.
Raxit Sheth and Deepa Kapadia had several options in mind while creating the prototype for the application. “We could have it SMS based where users could send the query through an SMS and get the answer through the SMS but people may not want to spend their time and money keying the SMS,” says Sheth. “The other option was through GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) but again not all handsets are GPRS enabled or even if they are, it may not be active and it is expensive,” he adds. Finally, Sheth and Kapadia decided to create a simple application that could be installed on Java enabled handsets. “Today Java enabled handsets are really affordable. The cheapest handset is about Rs. 3000 with a bill,” informs Sheth. Sheth is a C++ programmer while Kapadia is a Java programmer. Mobile 4 Mumbai will be very light and just requires about 180 kb – 200 kb free memory space on the mobile phone.
Even though GPRS users can access the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) website on their mobiles, the Graphic User Interface (GUI) is not suitable for mobile phone browsing.
Sheth and Kapadia, both computer engineers, have been working on the mobile phone application during the weekends and after office hours. Even though they have invested lots of time and energy, the duo will wants to give out the application free to their families and friends who in turn could give the application to others.
The duo has not decided whether they will present the prototype to the BEST once it is ready. “This is a very good idea. We did not realise that we could even reach out to mobile phone users. It will be good, if Sheth and Kapadia approach the planning department of the BEST. We can give them all the possible support,” says a BEST official.
The application is currently in its final stage of creation. By next month, the beta version will be out and only after three months the application will be available to the public.
If this mobile phone application is successful, they will adopt the same prototype for bus routes in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Pune.