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Transport of Tomorrow
The Uber of Buses Comes to DC

Next week a transportation start-up company called Bridj is expanding its unique approach to bus travel into the nation’s capital. Instead of having set ‘bus stops,’ Bridj uses big data to figure out the best places to pick up and drop off its customers. As an earlier piece from the WaPo explained, the company had some success it Boston, where it originally launched:

Bridj says it has cut some commute times in half by strategically offering bus service in the city. A ride from Coolidge Corner to Kendall Square, which Bridj founder Matt George says would likely 42 to 55 minutes on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, has taken 15-18 minutes on his company’s buses.

At $5 per trip, Bridj costs more than the typical DC metro ride. But Uber is also more expensive in many cases than a metro trip, and has nonetheless successfully entered the DC market. Especially considering how inefficient the DC metro system is, something like Bridj could very well be successful. It’s the sort of venture worth keeping an eye on, as a preview of how technology and big data will make daily life more convenient and efficient in the 21st century.

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  • Kevin

    Hopefully this re routing is not made mid trip. Commuters waiting at a stop ought not be thrilled after waiting for an hour to realize their stop had been eliminated that day…

    A huge advantage a service like thus would have is that it could cherry pick the most profitable routes and times (and those where commuters are willing and able to spend e two for faster service) leaving the municipal service to handle the less profitable lines. Of course there are two different dynamics driving them:for profit firms serve those willing to pay, municipal services serve this who elect politicians.

    If I were a DC commuter I would favor this new system, I’d a DC city council member I’d probably oppose it.

    • iconoclast

      As Glenn Reynolds would say regarding the antipathy of politicians to Bridj–not enough opportunity for graft.

  • Corlyss

    It doesn’t have even a nanosecond’s worth of survivability in that f’d up city. Between the overbearing congress and the determinedly incompetent and corrupt city government, a city that by rights should be the telework capital of the world is mired in 20th century quaintness.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Southern efficiency and northern charm

      • Corlyss

        Have we discussed Brinkley’s memoirs of his time in DC during WW2?

        • f1b0nacc1

          No, I don’t believe so….tell me more?

          • Corlyss

            Washington Goes to War.

            I read it c. 1990. It tells the story of a small sleepy Southern town where life was slow and summers notoriously unbearable to the extent that life all but stopped and how that little town rapidly transformed itself before his very eyes to accommodate the huge influx of people necessary to prosecute the war. He talks about the curious native customs of the time, the building up of the military (which was in such a woeful state that they were training with wooden sticks for rifles and even if they had guns they couldn’t use live ammo because it was too expensive), what it was like for those working for the government and those not, housing shortages (there’s even a movie about that – The More the Merrier!), etc. DC at the time was managed by the DC Commissioners, a troika of upstanding citizens whose administration was barely adequate and usually as messed up as it is today. There’s one story involving bricks left over from a renovation project in Georgetown and the city’s waste management dept. that I still use as a hilarious example of why home rule really hasn’t been worse than the Commissioner system; it just changed who gets the sweetheart deals and the kickbacks. I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling you the story, but when you get to it in the book, remember I told you it was coming! [g]

          • f1b0nacc1

            Just ordered it….many thanks!!!

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