We continue to expand Rome2rio‘s database of train, bus and ferry routes. Today we’re happy to announce new coverage that is particularly useful for our users in India, or anyone travelling to the subcontinent.
Thanks to a partnership with RedBus, Rome2rio now offers extensive coverage of India’s bus network. This map illustrates our improved coverage in India:
Blue lines represent India’s train network, which were included on Rome2rio since launch. Green lines represent the new bus routes. As you can see, bus coverage is extensive and fills many gaps not covered by train lines.
Bus travel is generally not as comfortable as train travel in India, although deluxe services are often available and are good value. Buses are sometimes faster, often run more frequently and reach many towns and cities in the countries not on the rail network.
Give it a go with a search such as Mumbai to Bangalore and let us know what you think.
In the last week we’ve pushed out several changes to the site’s user interface. We redesigned the experience so that flight schedules and transport information are no longer displayed using pop-outs over the map. Instead, clicking on each leg of the journey displays the relevant information inline above the map. Importantly, rome2rio now zooms in to show the selected leg in detail.
We’ve also made the date selection more intuitive to use. We hope this makes getting flight prices much easier than before. Of course, the date is completely optional because we love the experience of quickly browsing the flight options.
We greatly simplified the messaging on the welcome screen; a simple change that resulted in a substantial jump in traffic.
Getting the UI design for rome2rio right is challenging, and something we’ve blogged about previously here and here. Expect the design to continue evolving in 2012. To give you an idea of the progress we’ve made this year, here’s what rome2rio looked like back in January:
We also pushed out a new feature today. As we described in this previous post, rome2rio has an explore feature where users can view all direct flights from a single airport on the map. To activate this view, input an origin (but not a destination) and select an airport from the list of the left. Alternatively, input a 3-letter airport code such as SFO. As of today, you can filter the destinations displayed by airline. This is especially useful for viewing, for example, all destinations that can be reached by a direct EasyJet flight from Stansted airport.
Please let us know what you think of the UI changes.
At rome2rio we love to travel by train. We believe it’s one of the most enjoyable form of transport. Often accompanied by great scenery, it offers a chance to travel with the locals. It’s also often cheaper, and sometimes faster, than flying short distances and certainly has a lesser environmental impact.
We’re excited to announce the recent addition of train routes in India to rome2rio to complement our rail coverage of Western and Eastern Europe, and China.
The Indian rail system employs over 1 million people and is one of the largest utility employers in the world. The country’s rail network is extensive, and you can take a two day train ride all the way from the north to the south of India. Trains typically offer several classes, ranging from the comfortable 1st class to the Slumdog Millionaire-style unreserved (UR) class, where seating is not allocated and the carriages are usually very crowded.
You also often need to book trains in India well in advance. Fortunately, special last-minute tickets called Tatkals are offered 2 days before the train’s departure for an extra cost. These are often the best bet for securing tickets. Trains in India also have a reputation for being late - sometimes delayed by several hours. This is because some trains make lengthy, multi-day journeys across the country, increasing the likelihood of delays along the way. However tickets are cheap. For example, a two to three hour journey from Delhi to Agra is just $15 USD for First Class.
Tickets can be purchased online, and ClearTrip is one popular site for train ticket purchases. The Indian train system also has a neat cancellation and waiting list system that helps ensure almost every seat is full when the train departs.
Some of the most popular sights in India can be reached by rail. From Delhi, trains run regularly to Agra where you can visit the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri. Travelers can continue on by rail to Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer and see some of the most stunning monuments, forts, cities and desert terrain that the Rajasthan area has to offer.
For more information about trains in India we highly recommend the excellent seat61 India resource.