Me: Auto! MG Road. Auto Driver: No. Repeat 5 times unsuccessfully and if I am lucky the sixth time will get a ride home and won’t be hounded for extra money or a find a rigged meter.
These are problems most commuters face everyday, whether you live in Bangalore, Delhi or any Indian city for that matter.
A new app called Saviour from InvertedTree Solutions hopes to solve this problem. The app which is currently available only for Android devices, lets commuters share travel experiences so as to make owners of autos, taxis and radio taxis responsible for providing better services to customers. It aims to be the Tripadvisor for vehicles. The app alerts you even before you enter a vehicle whether you are bound to face troubles.
To do the above the app has an impressive set of features. All one has to do is enter a vehicle number and it checks the database and lets you know if there are any reviews for the vehicle and if it is safe to travel in it. If it is not safe it would give a list of the reasons other customers have entered.
One can also submit reviews, not only negative but positive also. While entering a negative review one can give reasons as to why one faced an issue like denial, rigged, late, violent, sexual and rude.
Apart from just the review section it also has an alarm section that allows you to alert up to 6 people with an SMS. To do this all you need to do is enter the contacts one time and press the alarm button when needed and it would send an SMS to the contacts along with your location. You can also set it up to post on your Facebook wall. We have seen this feature in app we have reviewed before like HelPls which allows you to alert contacts.
The user interface has big buttons which is perfect for an app of this nature. Unfortunately the app has been out for less than a month and so finding reviews of any vehicle number we entered was an issue. This we see as the biggest challenge for the app.
When we asked Hemant Kshirsagar, the managing director of InvertedTree Solutions, how they plan to tackle this issue he said that all social apps is that they take time to gain traction but they have a multi pronged strategy to gain visibility. The team plans to stand at places where people normally get down from auto or a taxi and introduce them to the app. They are also planning in getting the support of government organizations like the traffic police. They also plan to tie up with the group that organized ‘Meter down’ to get some publicity. They will also visit corporate offices and make people aware of the app.
The team also plans to submit the information they get directly to the police so that action can be taken directly and 10% of any earnings made from this app will go to NGO’s working for Rape Victims.
While the above measures could go some way in creating buzz for the app, the only way to get users coming back to the app is that if they actually derive some value from the app and are not faced with a no reviews screen each time. This is something early adopters might have to face for the foreseeable future but the concept is something that touches a nerve in a lot of people, so getting users may not be that big an issue.
Marrying technology with auto services is fraught with challenges. It is for nothing that services like Mumbai’s Rickshawale, Pune’s AyAuto, Gurgaon’s RadioTukTuk and Bangalore’s EasyAuto shut shop even if they created quite a buzz at the time of launch. [Read: Can AutoWale be the Meru of Rickshaws?]
An iOS app is planned soon which will definitely increase the target base further. We definitely wish this team all the best in providing a safe journey for all.
Download: Saviour (Android)
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