How Twitter, Google Docs helped thousands of stranded Mumbaikars find their way back #MumbaiRain

Mumbaikars are known for their resilience. Yet another example of their fighting spirit was on display yesterday when thousands of people stranded in heavy rain came to each others help. This time around, they were armed with new tools– Twitter and Google.

Mumbai carpool
Mumbai carpool

On Monday, it rained heavily in Mumbai and local trains, the primary mode of transport for millions of workers in India’s financial capital stopped working. Thousands were stranded on railway stations and stationary trains.

While many eventually found their way back home when train services were partially restored, many who were tech savvy, came up with  the hashtag #Mumbaicarpool on Twitter. A Google Doc spreadsheet (embedded in the post) was also started which was being filled up by people needing help and people wanting to help.

Twitter was used heavily to spread information about traffic jams and water logging. Unlike the radio, which has been put to use in such conditions before, Twitter communications were two way and people could try and find help through the microblogging site.

In Mumbai, the most populous Indian city, life of an average working person can be very difficult. We salute the city’s millions, who strive against odds almost every day. True to the old saying, that necessity is the mother of inventions, the solutions people come up with in the face of trouble can be amazing. Just that startups into car pooling/shared travel should have risen to the occasion and could have been the single point of reference for all such discussions.

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