Whether you're clueless about bus routes, or unable to locate the nearest Metro station, Ridlr is a public transport app that can help. The service is currently available in 9 cities - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, Jaipur, Mumbai and Pune - and Hyderabad is coming soon. The app sets your location automatically but you can change it if you want. You can use the app to locate nearby bus stops, metro stations (in Delhi) and plan your travel by entering a destination to see the best route to get there.
When you start the app, the screen is divided into three sections. You can choose either "View TimeTable", "Plan Your Travel", or "Favourite Time Table". If you swipe in from the left, you can see another menu, which includes a "Home" button to take you back to the starting screen at any time, and "Nearby Stops", which shows bus stops and Metro stations in your vicinity. To find the best route or to look up timetables, you have to go to the home screen.
While testing the app, we selected Delhi, and we could view the timetables for bus and metro services. When you click on the timetable of bus it will take you to the next screen, where one can search for the route. Enter the bus number in the search box and it will display the total number of stops along which the bus plies. In the next page one can find the nearest bus stop to board. It then lists the expected time of arrival of the bus.
You can also change the date and time to see which bus on your route will arrive first. If it is your regular route, then one can save it as a favourite. If a particular time suits you, say 10AM, then you can tap it and the app will display a map and the number of bus stops along the chosen route, and the expected arrival time at each stop. You can zoom in the map in full screen, and see the route and time by tapping on the boarding stop and the end stop.
The Metro information is also pretty similar. You need to enter the name of the starting station and destination station. Ridlr then lists the entire time table, and you select the time by tapping on it. The app then displays a map and lists the number of stations in the chosen route, and the expected arrival time at each station. There is also a "hop on" feature, by which you can alert friends and family when you board a bus or metro. This will also be used to update the exact location of the bus or metro so that Ridlr can provide more accurate estimates to people about when the bus or metro will reach the station.
The tool you'll use the most is probably the travel plan. You can enter your current location (or the app will take your current location details via the GPS), and you have to enter your destination. The app then displays multiple options to reach your destination according to the earliest arrival. One can filter the route with minimum transfers.The map gives a detail view of the start and end point, lists the various steps needed to reach the location with map. You can toggle between autos and walking, and between buses and metros, to pick the route that suits you best. If you knows a better route then you can write to Ridlr using the feedback button from the bottom of the page, and if you often travel the same route then the app also allows you to save your favourite timetable of the route.
Google Maps also allows you to look up bus and Metro routes, so why do you need a separate app just for this? For one thing, the Ridlr app allows you to check timetables even when you're not online. The "hop on" feature also promises extra accuracy when looking up timings, and at the same time, is an easy way to alert your friends and family while traveling.
The app is easy to use, and also helpful because it sends important alerts. For example, when the Metro services were suspended over the weekend because of the earthquake, the app sent a notification to let people know about it. There is scope for improvement - for example, it does not include live traffic integration which Google Maps has. This would be useful to judge how long a bus journey would really take.
Ridlr is available free, and is only on Android.