The Delhi government on Tuesday re-launched the Poochh-O app, that's supposed to help you hail a taxi or autorickshaw whenever you need it. It's also meant to be one of the tools that will help you through the odd-even days when you're struggling to get a hold of a rickshaw or taxi to get you to your destination.
A test of the app reveals that it is pretty easy to use. The startup screen is pretty clear on what is available where. If you go to the auto/taxi option you get to see your location and what taxis and autorickshaws are near you. Much like any other aggregator so far:
Then you have to enter your pickup point and destination and whether you want a rickshaw or taxi. Once you do that you hit 'Send Request' and then wait.
And wait, And wait. Because the app does not auto-allocate a rickshaw or taxi. Instead you wait for a rickshaw or taxi to accept your request. You are advised to wait for 3 to 5 minutes.
But if no one accepts your request you don't get any notification. I waited almost 10 minutes before I realised nothing was happening.
You also have the option of calling one of the rickshaws/ taxis yourself and convincing them to take you to your destination. And the worst part? You aren't assured that the rickshaw driver will use the meter while transporting you. In the terms and conditions of the app it says that the fare can be based on the meter or whatever amount you agree on with the rickshaw driver.
Most other aggregators allocate a vehicle or at least let you know if you're not getting a vehicle. And apps like Ola ensure that the meter is always used and don't require you to negotiate. An autorickshaw driver also said that there's no incentive being offered by the app which means they're not going to pick customers unless they're near the pickup point and want to go to the destination. On days of odd-even cars expect demand to be higher and without feedback for users its almost impossible to know whether your request has been accepted or not.
The app also has other features like tracking traffic and allowing other users to send updates about traffic in the area they're in. However, it's a poor substitute for something like Google Maps which gives real time data.
The bus related features of the app are perhaps the most responsive features. It tells you where a particular bus is, advises you what bus routes you can take to a destination and even lets you check how many seats are free on a bus (but it's restricted only to some buses). It's perhaps the only redeeming feature of this app.
The app may have its heart in the right place but is far from being an efficient solution to addressing Delhi residents' travel needs. The app may work but you're better off having another cab aggregator handy.