Mehul Sutariya and Vaibhav Vasa were active public transport travellers since the age of 16. They knew some of the challenges Indian commuters regularly experience — lack of information about schedules, changes, no information on time of arrival, no way to find the best route, no way to compare modes of transport for a given transit. “When we went to the US, we continued using public transport systems. Almost always it was a well-planned commute, whereby the wait time at a station was pretty low. Comparing what we experienced in India and the US, there was a huge gap.
Which also meant there was immense room for improvement,” recalls co-founder Vasa. Friends for about 15 years now, they left their jobs in America in 2013 and decided on TransitPedia, for the impact it could have on the current state of public transport in the country, as well as on the lives of millions of daily commuters. While Sutariya went to the US to do an MS in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology and later worked at Amazon for four years as a software engineer, Vasa did an MS in operations research from Case Western, Ohio, and later worked with Avery Dennison, a Fortune 500 company, as a demand planning manager for five years. “There is lack of technological intervention and smart thinking in the daily life of a commuter. Which, when catered to, can lead to a well-organised public transportation ecosystem in India,” Sutariya says. TransitPedia’s focus is on a daily commuter’s needs — providing accurate information about schedules, alerts on service changes, on cancellations and, eventually, providing real-time information about the arrival of their bus/train/metro. “We are currently present in Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi, and plan to go live in Hyderabad and Bengaluru next week, followed by Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Indore, Surat, Rajkot and Bhubaneswar in due course,” Sutariya says. Initially bootstrapped, TransitPedia is in discussions with a few investors to raise funds. The idea is to use the money primarily to reach scale quickly and add more features to solve much-bigger commuter pain-points, he says.
TransitPedia has a few monetisation options in mind, which it will explore after it attains a critical mass. Currently, it is focusing on user adoption and will go after monetisation next year, according to him. TAKING A RIDE
- TransitPedia is trying to unify public transport data across all cities in India
- Plans to go live in Hyderabad and Bengaluru next week
- Initially bootstrapped, TransitPedia is looking to raise funds and is in active discussion with a few investors