[Review] Four daily commuters weigh in on the pros and cons of Traffline

A few weeks ago, when Mumbai startup Birds Eye Systems approached us to do a review of Traffline, its real-time traffic SMS and email-based traffic update service, we decided to invitesome of our readers and friends to review the service instead. The company made a one-month free subscription available to our reviewers. The reviewers, spread across Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, used the service for around a fortnight.

Here are their experiences and feedback:

Paroma Mukherjee | Mumbai

Overall experience: I started getting the updates from July 27. I prefer updates via SMS because I used Traffline when I was driving and it's not really convenient to keep checking email when driving. It's easier to read text messages and figure out routes. Before Traffline, I had only used Google Maps for routes and it provides traffic status as well but is not as detailed as this one. Traffline is pretty accurate. However, on a couple of occasions, I've sent the SMS to the given number for an update but never received any. I tried once more but after that I did't bother since I had to start driving and couldn't afford to keep waiting for a traffic update. I think these kind of glitches need to be fixed, especially for people who use the service on the go.

Scorecard

  • Quality - 8
  • Frequency - 6
  • Accuracy - 8

Value for money: I think Rs 849 per year for SMS updates is a bit steep since Google Maps as an app on my phone also provides an overall idea of traffic status on routes. It's not detailed of course but it does the job. If the service is priced at less than Rs. 500, I would definitely sign up for it on an annual basis.

Reviewer Bio: Paroma Mukherjee is a professional photographer and photo editor. Connect with her at LinkedIn.


Disha Mirchandani | Mumbai

Overall experience: I started receiving the updates 2 weeks ago, twice daily. The updates were prompt, approximately five minutes before the timings I had submitted for starting my trips. Unfortunately with such a short travel distance (Churchgate station to Free Press Journal Marg, Nariman Point), the usefulness is a bit hard to gauge accurately, but the information provided was accurate. I'm sure for longer distances it would be great.

Scorecard

On a scale of 1-to-10, I'd score the service at 7 partly because I feel it didn't take into account the shortest route to the given destination. A bonus could be something along the lines of providing an alternate, less traffic-jammed route.

Value for money: Overall, I was very impressed with the service but I'm not sure I would pay that much annually. Primarily because it's not hard these days to access traffic information for free in various ways and even the radio/Twitter provide traffic updates.

Reviewer Bio: Disha Mirchandani is a corporate lawyer. Connect with her at LinkedIn.


Kunal Talgeri | Bangalore

Overall experience: I started getting the updates on July 27. I prefer updates on email because the Gmail interface is easier and better. On SMS, it is hard to navigate through the advice but that has more to do with my crappy ‘smart' phone where the SMS fuction often hangs. No such problem with my Gmail app.The quality of the service, in terms of language and presentation is excellent — short, to the point and simple. The map interface is OK. The illustration is a little hard to follow, especially if an alternate route is suggested.

Scorecard

  • Quality - 6
  • Frequency - 10
  • Accuracy - 8

Value for money: If the services can build in some degree of flexibility, the subscription rates are affordable and I would go for it. Right now, the Traffline plans and updates are locked to the timings I had provided (8.30 AM and 5.30 PM) and for a fixed route. Often, I may get held up at work later than 5.30 PM or leave for a different destination. If there is a facility to get Traffline updates with changes in my commute plan, I wouldn't mind paying even Rs 1,000 per year. In Bangalore, that means a lot of value. The SMS facility I may rule out in the current form.

Reviewer Bio: Kunal Talgeri is a financial journalist. Connect with him at LinkedIn".


Sumana Chatterjee | Bangalore

Overall experience: I started getting the updates on July 27. I've never used a traffic update service before and this offers a good way out of bumper-to-bumper traffic situations. I prefer updates on SMS, which makes sense for non-smartphone users. However, the service probably makes more sense for those who use their own transport. I am dependent on public transport and even if I had an update on the traffic situation on my commute route, it wouldn't really matter.

Scorecard

  • Quality - 8
  • Frequency - 10
  • Accuracy - 8

Value for money: No, at the current rates for SMS updates.

Reviewer Bio: Sumana Chatterjee is a corporate banking professional.


Birds Eye Systems Fast Facts

Birds Eye Systems, founded by Brijraj Vaghani and Ravi Khemani, was incubated in 2011 at CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad's technology startup incubator. Traffline is the company's flagship product and is built around patented algorithms. The service is currently available in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. In March this year, it raised a sub-$30,000 angel funding round from CIIE. This was followed by a Rs 2 crore (sub-$400,000) second angel round from Indian Angel Network in April. Apart from Traffline, the company has also launched a taxi booking application called Taxi Go. It currently employs 25 people.

Have you used Traffline? Talk to us about your experiences.