Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Maybe a friend called you to a place you barely remember; the last time you went there was 5 years ago and now you have to get there ASAP. Maybe you’re new to the valley and want to get to this cool-looking MoMo place you saw on a Foodie Nepal post. Or maybe you’re hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere, every road looks the same and with tears in your eyes, you wish there was some cool app that would just map out all the public transport routes and put it on your fingertips.
Sure, there are plenty of navigation apps out there that trace public transport routes. But how many of them are actually usable? Any kid with a laptop and internet access can pop out an app nowadays, but which ones are the best? In this article, we’ll go through the painstaking process of finding the best apps for navigating the public transport routes in Kathmandu Valley, just for you folks. This article only covers Android apps though there are plenty of good options available for iOS as well.
A Dummy’s Guide to Navigating Kathmandu
In this guide, we’ve rated the apps based on a few factors: the User Interface(UI), Relevancy i.e. how updated the apps are, and the Overall Usability from 1 to 10.
1. Gantabya Plus
Gantabya Plus is an app developed by August Innovation and is definitely one of the better apps on this list. The main page of this app contains simple ‘From:’ and ‘To:’ fill-in boxes. After filling in the locations, you’ll be prompted with a list of available options and the number of transits necessary. How convenient! The pricing and routes on the app look as though they were updated recently but a few new routes do seem to be missing.
The app also has a page where you can view the fare per distance as prescribed by the Nepal Government. There are also sections in the app where you can calculate Student discounts and view Emergency Numbers like those of Police, Hospitals, Ambulance, etc. Furthermore, there’s a section in the app where you can find nearby bus stops, Gyms, etc which is a pretty handy idea… if only it worked. I tried using the feature on a couple more devices but the darn map just wouldn’t load up and the app keeps crashing a lot.
Summed up, it’s a pretty handy app that could use some updating. The user experience is good if you look over the Maps bug. The extra features like Discount Calculator, emergency numbers, etc are quite handy as well.
Relevancy: Not up-to-date but has most of the necessary routes
Overall Usability: 8/10
Mero Sajha seems to be an app developed for Sajha Buses by GPS Nepal. Yes yes, this app is exclusive to only Sajha Bus routes and this article is all about navigating the whole of Ktm. That being said, Sajha Buses do connect a lot of important stops in the Valley so this app earns a place in this article. If you’ve seen any of those green buses rolling around in the roads near you, chances are you fall in one of the routes of this service.
The app layout is pretty simple without a lot of features. On the main page of the app, you’ll find a “View Sajha Location” that’ll let you see Sajha stops near you. The menu button links to a map showing the stops covered by each route of the bus service. The different routes are colored differently which is quite convenient. The info button lists the company’s details and contact information.
Relevancy: Seems up-to-date for the small number of routes that Sajha Buses cover
Overall Usability: 7/10
This next app is similar to Gantabya Plus but with a more simplistic UI. Developed by students at NEC, this app has the added benefit of displaying its list of routes. After feeding in the Source and Destination to the app, it calculates the possible routes and pricing for the commute. The fact that it displays the transit stops and a route map is pretty cool as well, for people like me who get super anxious not knowing when to signal the Conductor dude to stop the bus.
The app seems to be solely for navigating routes as this is the only main feature that’s available. However, this app does it pretty well. It has a clutter-free UI and the provided additional details are pretty useful as well.
Relevancy: Seems updated recently
Overall Usability: 8/10
4. Yatayat Nepal
This final app is developed by M&S Developers and seems to be an app in the development phase. This app comes with the standard Route finder and a list of routes. Extra features like a list of some popular places are also written, which is a plus.
One thing that really bummed me out is that the app asked for permission to access my files from the get-go. While the app seemed to want it for database update purposes, this is kinda fishy and if you’re a privacy geek, you’ll do well to stay away from this app. Also, this project seems to be abandoned after 2016/17 so there’s probably nothing here that you can’t find on the other apps listed above.
Relevancy: Seems abandoned
Overall Usability: 3/10