Not knowing when and whether the next ferry will arrive can surely mar the unique experience of traversing Goa’s rivers.
With more than 2.5 lakh commuters in the state using the ferry service everyday, ferry timings are crucial to their schedules.
Suraj Sakhardande, a software engineer from Panaji, recently developed ‘Goychim Ferry’ an Android app to ease the travel experience of ferry users.
‘Goychim Ferry’ once downloaded on an Android device provides the user with maps of every ferry point, the number of ferries plying on each route, information about the state’s ferry fleet and most importantly the schedule of every ferry from each point.
At a glimpse the app user can see all the 18 ferry routes along with the timing of the first and last ferry for each route. The app also comes to the rescue of commuters in a hurry, providing them with the timing of the next ferry available to them on each route based on their current mobile phone time.
The idea for the app with its tagline ‘Altodi to Poltodi’ (inspired by Goa’s famous dekkni (traditional song), Hanv saiba poltoddi vetam) occurred to 24-year-old Sakhardande when he listened to the travails of his friend Velington Afonso, a daily ferry user.
“I began my research and came across the river navigation department’s website which has ferry timings listed. The problem was that the list was too long and difficult for people to check when in a rush. If they didn’t have internet they would be stuck. I decided to take this data and organize it in a manner that would be easily accessible. Software, after all, is all about making people’s lives easier,” he says.
It took him one month to develop the app, test it and host it on Google Play Store. Almost 100 users have downloaded the app and with the feedback he has received, he hopes to update it and make it more interactive. In the course of time he wants to introduce the app for iOS and Windows too.
When he launched the app three months ago, Sakhardande also began a Facebook page dedicated to the ‘Ferry Community’.
With the government going in bridge overdrive mode, he fears, the ferry ride in Goa may be on the verge to extinction.
The Facebook page allows people travelling by ferries to share their ‘ferry moments’ and has already received over 700 likes. “I still prefer to travel via ferry on the Panaji-Betim route instead of using the Mandovi bridges. It’s a refreshing ride. Rivers and its ferries are the pride of Goa.”
Altodi to Poltodi
Download app ‘Goychim Ferry’ on your Android phone/device
Sans internet, a list of 18 ferry routes appears, with timings of first and last ferry on each route
Clicking on any route brings out a map showing the ferry’s points of departure and arrival, number of ferries on the route, service schedule for entire day and the next ferry available based on your current cellphone time.
App also has info on all 39 ferries—their registration numbers and year in which each one was built—plying on the 18 routes