While bringing relief to a sweltering Mumbai, the rains have also made commuting a dreadful experience. As trains run late and streets are flooded, students are finding new ways to reach college on time this season.
Many have turned to tools such as traffic updates from Twitter and mobile-based transportation apps. As many colleges follow extremely strict attendance policies, downloading apps for traffic updates has become the most preferred method for students to avoid being late for classes.
Traffline Mumbai is one such app, which gives real-time traffic and train updates, helping students plan their travel. Waze is another popular navigation app and provides live traffic updates based on a user-specified travel time and route details. They also have special updates on water-logged roads. Taking an autorickshaw has been made easier by Metershare , a freely downloadable app which can be can be used to share one’s location and destination for others to ride along. Other apps, such as SmartMumbaikar and m-Indicator, are useful in helping map travel time.
“I know a few juniors who live close to my house and I generally use the app to give them an update to join me in the taxi if they wish to reach college,” said Lubna Firdos, a final-year student from HR College of Commerce and Economics.
Colleges, too, are doing their bit to help students brave the monsoon. While attendance remains a must, a few professors are now allowing students a grace period of 15 minutes to reach lectures during the rains.
“We have students coming from as far as Ambarnath and in the monsoon, trains are bound to be late. So I let them in if they are less than 15 minutes late so that they don’t pay the price for a faulty transport system,” said Sumana Joshi, a professor at Sathaye College.
Institutions such as Wilson College and KC College, which are normally strict about students’ attire, have relaxed their norms for the course of the monsoon. They are now letting students walk in with rolled-up or three-quarters pants.
Yet, there are others who do not wish to rely on public transport at all. “In the rains it is almost impossible to find a cab so I prefer to leave early and walk up to college. It saves me the hassle, but I tend to reach college wet or with spoiled clothes,” said Sheetal Vaze from Ramnarain Ruia College, who lives in Dadar.