Today I found out about 90DI.com - Ninety Digree, a new travel search engine which basically combines airfare + trains fare search. Its founded by three guys Khushnood Naqvi, Kiran M.S and Abhinit Kumar.
The goal of this site is to provide travel information in India easily and effectively. As I said, the site combines the airfare search and railway fare search for the selected routes. So if you select Mumbai to Delhi, the site will list train fares for Mumbai to Delhi, airfare from Mumbai to Delhi and combination of two.
Once you find the route which includes train journey, you can see the list of stations that you will be visiting on a graphical map of India.
So some good features of this site
- Routes which combines flight and train journey
- Plotting train route on the map.
- Real time availablity of tickets
Few things that I would like to comment on this site though. First of all, the site lacks in design. I am not talking about the simplicity but it doesn't appeal to the visitor. Specially the logo of the site, page colors, icons etc.
Second, plotting the routes on the map is a good thing but on a static map is not a good thing. I thik they are using MapsOfIndia's maps as you can see it from the watermark on the map. In the age of interactive maps and the availability of Google/Yahoo/Microsoft Map APIs, they could have plotted the routes on an interactive map which can give visitors a better user experience.
Third, I don't know what is their business model. Its just a search. You can not buy tickets from this site, so how they will make money from this website? As they are using heavy AJAX, its really really difficult to put Adsense or any other advertisement on the page which eliminates their advertising revenue option.
I certainly believe that it is a nice and innovative initiative from their site. But I would appreciate and would be eager to know from them about these points.