Who said poor infrastructure should always result in miserable life and loss of business?

India boasts a few things – one of them is one of the largest and busiest railway network! Unfortunately, it is all wound in red tape.

Red tape around railways does not let us construct Rail Over Bridges (ROBs) fast enough. By the time one bridge constructs, cities of this fast moving economy grow by another three.

This results in large number of people waiting at railway gates, jamming traffic. There are hundreds of thousands of railway gates in India, at which millions of people get stuck every hour.

Captive traffic could be a big business opportunity. Even if we can tap 1% of the market, it would be a lot of money.  (I wonder why the families of gatekeepers have not started selling food stuff!)

Everyone curses this condition. One of the common frustration is “Only if I knew it is closing for next 10 minutes, I could have spent the time with my family/at my office/at my shop! What is the use of standing here in 40+ C temperature?”

This gives me an idea of yet another business model – “SMS to know whether a gate would be closed in next n minutes”. It could work this way:

  1. A user sends an SMS (text message) to a well known number with two details  – gate id and number of minutes
  2. The server responds with “yes” or “no” (or, in absence of the second detail from the user, responds with two details – whether the gate is closed now and when it is likely to get closed next) – and some local advertise, which makes the SMS transaction free for the users
  3. Data to the server could be fed by railway gatekeepers – or someone posted at the gate, who can double the roll of selling some food stuff etc.
  4. Quality of this data provided could be verified by motion sensors (if Indian railway permits)

What an opportunity to earn and what a convenience to so many people and what a way to reduce emission from idling vehicle engines!

Who said poor infrastructure should always result in miserable life and loss of business?

What do you say?


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