Public Transport 2.0

What follows is a business idea that you can start implementing today. Please get in touch if you'd like my help to get it going. I can do the computery bits but I'd be out of my depth doing the rest.

The current situation

Where I live in the UK, in a town called Trowbridge, the only type of public transport that works are taxis. The problem is that they're costly, they pollute, and they cause traffic congestion. Here's a table of all the forms of public transport and their qualities. The last row is my proposed solution.

Type of transport
Traffic Congestion
Customer Service
Taxi High High High Very good Good High Good Good
Bus Medium Low Low Very bad Poor Low Poor Very poor
Train High Low None Bad Very Good High Poor Poor
PT2 Medium Low Low Good Good High Good Good

The solution

Modern mobile phones have GPS built-in to them, so they always know where they are. If I want to travel somewhere, I pick up my phone and click on the map where I want to go. The system (let's call it Public Transport 2.0 or PT2) then knows where I am and where I want to go. PT2 also knows the location of the all the vehicles at its disposal, and where all the other passengers are and where they want to go. Every few seconds it performs an optimization to get everyone to their destination in the shortest possible time.

For example it may tell me to start walking if I want to, and display an arrow showing which direction to walk in. Simultaneously it may tell a minibus that's about to pass by, to pick me up. The minibus may take me to the town I want to go to, and a car would be waiting to take me to the particular address.


It always annoys me when my bus journey is slowed down by people having to pay the driver as they board. With PT2 you'd charge your account in advance and then it would be automatically debited as you travel, like a pay-as-you-go phone.

But how would the vehicles get paid? They'd get paid a standard amount per passenger km, depending on the number of seats in their vehicle.

Quality control

It's important that the vehicles are clean and comfortable, and that the driver is courteous. Each passenger could give feedback via their mobile, and reports would be investigated by PT2 staff. Poor quality would be punished with a fine, and good quality rewarded with a bonus.