As regular readers of this blog can attest, I am a big fan of flexible working, and significant research supports the notion that those who have that option tend to be both more productive and more engaged than their peers who commute to work. Nevertheless, flexible workers tend to still form a minority of the workforce, so it makes sense to make the commute as productive as possible.
Whilst a host of digital tools have made it possible to work whilst journeying your way to the office, the stress involved in the commute can still be considerable. Whether it’s delayed trains or significant traffic congestion, the journey to work each morning can be all rather stressful, leaving you in a frazzled state before the day has even begun.
Boston based Bridj are aiming to improve matters. Bridji operate a shuttle service that hope to offer commuters a more enlightening way to get to work. As with most things these days, the service is driven via a mobile app, through which users can select their desired pick up and destination points, their time of travel and to reserve a seat on the bus.
The bus comes with comfy seating, ample luggage space, and free wifi that people can tune into with their mobile devices to get on with work, checking the news and so on. Now, that in itself is nothing new. Indeed, when in the Czech Republic we regularly travel from Prague with the Student Agency company, who offer all of those features, plus a free drink and choice of newspaper.
Where Bridj aim to be different however is in how they determine the route they take. Whereas most forms of public transport offer fixed routes, Bridj intend to offer something much more flexible. The companies app shows the routes the shuttles are currently undertaking, but these routes can shift dynamically so as to better serve customers as the day progresses. This variance is underpinned by smart data analysis and machine learning algorithms that the company hope will allow the creation of an agile network that can predict demand at any particular time and day.
As the business is still in beta mode, it is currently offering itself for free, but the plan is to eventually charge customers a ticket price of somewhere between what is currently charged for train or taxi travel. There have been other services that aim to provide a more user friendly form of public transport, with Kustuplus doing a similar thing in Helsinki, Finland.
You access the official Kutsuplus app on your phone, from which you can summon a Kutsuplus bus to your stop (within a 10 minute lead time). The bus that arrives will seat at least nine people and comes with space for baby carriages and bicycles.
It’s great to see various organizations attempting to innovate in how we travel throughout cities. You can check out more about Bridgj via the video below.