Public transport in Israel is nothing to be proud of. Various apps on the market, such as Moovit and Google Maps offer bus arrival times, but this will not really prompt people to abandon their cars in favor of Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd. or Dan Public Transportation Co. Ltd.
Ototo Inc., known as NetBus until Monday, is offering a vision that will raise many eyebrows and make us wonder whether it at all possible in this country. Ototo wants to create a system for offering travel-on-demand on public transport. The system use will crowdsourcing to identify demand for passengers from a particular destination to another, and will send a bus or minibus.
"We believe that it is possible to change public transport," says Ototo CEO Snir Machluf. "Imagine a system that knows passengers' demands and adjusts itself to them."
Ototo ("just a second" in Hebrew) has 21 employees, operates in 80 countries, and has raised $1.5 million from private investors. Its business model is based on payments for rides made through it.
Meanwhile, Ototo is planning to remove its NetBus app from Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) App Store, and is launching a new version of the app. Its users, like those of Waze Ltd. are supposed to send reports about congestion on public transport, delays, and routes.
The app also offers a savings meter that shows how much gasoline is saved by using public transport, and an alarm clock that sounds when the passenger has reached his destination. The app's Android version will come out in a few months.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 4, 2014
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