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Episode #90

The Bus of the Future Will Catch You

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This veteran cab driver is guided by new apps galore. (Alex Goldmark)

Matt George runs a new bus company that doesn't own buses. And he's making some big promises. 

He says his company Bridj is going to "rethink the way mass transportation works for the first time, really, since 1897 when the first subway tracks were laid" in Boston, where Bridj just launched its first data-driven routes. George thinks that by crunching enough mobility data he can figure out where people need to go in almost real-time, and create or alter bus routes so there's always one when you need it, and they all go pretty much express. As for the not owning buses thing. Bridj will make the schedules and routes then contract actual bus companies for the wheels, much like the way Uber and other taxi apps use private drivers but don't employ any of them directly. 

If George is right, his technology could fundamentally change the way people get around cities with something between a taxi shuttle and the subway. It could also become an elitist alternative public transit for the smartphone crowd.

To find out — and to test out a few other transpo tech promises — New Tech City producer Alex Goldmark takes a road trip from New York to Boston using every possible means of high-tech-enhanced transportation and trip planning tools he could possibly find. Listen to this episode to hear how the future of transportation rolls... and lurches, and crashes. 

    Music Playlist
  1. Midnight Grind
    Artist: Cullen Fitzpatrick
  2. Steady
    Artist: Cullen Fitzpatrick
  3. Lips Alt 2
    Artist: Jack Ventimiglia
  4. Dust Bowl Rider
    Artist: Andrew Smith
  5. Open Slowly
    Artist: Justin Asher
  6. Rasta Duane
    Artist: Daniel Jensen

Hosted by:

Manoush Zomorodi

Contributors:

Alex Goldmark

Comments [4]

Bob Babcock from NYC

you should post the apps you mention in a story so listeners can follow along

Jun. 20 2014 12:58 PM

my comment should read "tech" waste of space.

Jun. 18 2014 11:02 AM

Another text waste of space. Like many get-around apps, this shows how little real-world street research goes into super apps.

Case in point. Even the NY MTA trip planner doesn't take advantage of closer change points and/or alternate train bus routes that are often closer to the destination than the proffered routes based on timetables, not travel experience.

Jun. 18 2014 11:00 AM
Bob Dale from new brooklyn

What was this even supposed to be about?

Jun. 18 2014 08:00 AM

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