Concept exploration for Metro Rail app with route planning, smart alerts and payment & wallet integration.,
An actually useful Metro Rail app
If you live in India in one of the metropolitan cities with Metro Rail, you'll relate to what I'm gonna say. The Metro apps suck! The apps available are unintuitive to use, they barely make use of the features of a modern smartphone and they are poorly designed.
I thought, why not take a dig at how a metro app could be made more functional to use. So here's my take :)
What to improve?
First and foremost question before I start redesigning the app was "What are the things the current apps don't do well?" or "What features would a Metro user like to see in an app"
I took my phone and called a bunch of my friends and family and interviewed them about their experience of using a metro app. My questions were mainly focused on the following points:
- What do they use the app for?
- Where do they struggle while using a metro?
- What are some features that they wished the app provided?
Apart from this, I looked at travel and navigation apps like Google Maps and City Mapper in the transportation space to see what they did.
What did I find out?
Based on the interviews and some good old competitive research, here are the problems which came out the most commonly
- Figuring out when to choose Metro over other options
- Understanding which metro station to take and which one to get out on
The problem was evident something I myself have experienced a lot. Nobody travels from just one metro to another. People travel from point A to point B and Metro is a part of this journey.
Usually, if we're travelling to a new destination, we need to first use a separate app like Google Maps to identify which is the closest Metro stop to our destination (If there's one) and see if it makes sense to use a metro or not. The existing metro apps only let you search a route between 2 metro stations.
- Not having a Metro Card. Waiting in line to get the one time use token every time
- Metro card has low balance. You only realise when you are trying to get out from the destination station
- Forgot to carry a metro card (Well!)
With a bunch of problems to solve, here's my take on an concept app for Metro Rail
Here are some of the key features I added to this app:
Simply add your destination and get a full overview of how you can reach your destination using Metro. The app will automatically find the closest metro to your current location and destination and chart out a course for you.
You'll be shown an overview of your trip with details such as, last mile transportation options, metro fare and estimated time to reach your destination
Once you choose a destination, the app will show you the fastest route with an option to check out alternate options. Using live map data, the app would also be able to predict if there will be during the last mile coverage.
Contextual Transit Tracking
Once you are on the trip, the app will contextually show information step by step
- Last mile travel options with integrations to Google Maps, Uber, Ola, Yulu etc (From current location -> Metro / Metro -> Destination)
- NFC based tap payment to enter/exit a station
- In transit status - time and number of stations left to reach the destination station
- Switching between metro lines
- Smart alerts to remind when to get off the train
Metro e-card and other options
To solve the payment issue, the app can feature an e wallet paired with a virtual metro card. A user can see the balance anytime, top up their wallet and see their spend history straight from the app.
The card can be used to enter and exit metro stations using NFC feature. The phone can be tapped at compatible metro kiosks, similar to how tapping a physical metro card works
The app would feature an explore section where the user can get additional info and help. Information such as, train timings, tourist spots, station information etc can be found here on the app.
With Delhi metro introducing NFC based kiosks starting with airport line, an app like this could see wide adoption by users.
With the right support from the government, this app can be also be expanded to cover all transportation means in a city including services like busses, cabs, auto's etc.