As a frequent traveller in and around Chennai, I have experienced the ups and downs of utilizing bus services, ranging from paid buses to pink-coloured buses free of charge exclusively for women. Moreover, while using Chennai’s public transport, I recently discovered the Chalo app, a revolutionary addition to the transportation ecosystem, which has made my commute significantly more manageable and predictable.
Founded in 2014 by Aggarwal Nikhil, Ashish Kumar Jindal, Dhruv Chopra, Mohit Kumar Dubey, Priya Singh Dubey, Srinivas Kodali, and Vinayak Bhavnani, the Chalo app has emerged as a game-changer in the public transportation sector. This innovative application allows users to access real-time information about the location effortlessly and the estimated arrival time of buses with just a simple touch of a button. By leveraging this technology, I could plan my travel better, as I could leave for the bus stop only a few minutes before the bus’s arrival.
Much like popular ride-hailing services such as Ola and Uber, Chalo provides an interface that enables passengers to track government buses in various cities, empowering them with essential information for hassle-free bus travel. The app caters to users across 52 cities, providing a comprehensive solution for commuters nationwide.
Let’s delve into a couple of practical scenarios to highlight the efficiency and utility of the Chalo app. For instance, when travelling from Kelambakkam to Adyar, the app provides comprehensive details about the route, including the source, destination, and all the intermediate bus stops. By accessing the live map feature, users can track the real-time movement of buses along the route, making informed decisions on the best bus to board. Suppose I choose bus number 102; the app will display the bus’s estimated arrival time at the nearest bus stop, making the waiting experience much more manageable.
In another case, let’s say Mr A is in Besant Nagar and needs to reach Velacherry. By entering the travel details into the Chalo app’s search box, immediate information regarding the available options is readily accessible, ensuring a seamless and efficient planning process for the journey.
Beyond its convenience, the Chalo app significantly contributes to solving transportation problems in India. One of its notable features is the ability to purchase tickets and travel by scanning a unique QR code. This innovative solution eliminates the need to carry physical change, providing a more efficient and contactless pay.
Moreover, Chalo has emerged as a commendable solution, revolutionizing how we experience public transportation in Chennai and various other cities. With real-time bus tracking, route planning, and convenient payment options, the app has alleviated the hardships of waiting at bus stops and the uncertainty of missing the next bus. By empowering passengers to make informed decisions and plan their journeys efficiently, Chalo has undoubtedly encouraged more individuals to opt for buses as their preferred mode of travel over cabs or autos.
As we witness advancements in technology like Chalo, it is evident that such innovative solutions play a significant role in addressing transportation challenges and enhancing the overall commuting experience. By leveraging the power of digital tools, the future of public transportation in India looks promising, and Chalo stands at the forefront of this positive transformation.
Pema Choden Bhutia is an Assistant Professor (Economics) at the Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, (Deemed to be University), Chennai.