Development of the “social-bus” application

innovation photo
Development of the “social-bus” application

An application launched in New York city a few years ago was Playdope, the aim of which   connect people whose paths through the city overlap somehow both digitally and physically. In order to use Playdope, it is a prerequisite to have a facebook account, with which one can log-in to the app and share some basic info. When Playdope is open, it identifies people within its network which are at the proximity of the user at that specific moment. After the notification is at user’s discretion if he/she would like to interact with the, as the app’s initiators calls them, “familiar strangers”. Playdope offers an ice-breaker activity (a quick trivia game) and after that a chat room appears which remains active for 24 hours, giving this way the opportunity to users to talk and exchange further info about themselves or even arrange a real – world meeting if they want.

Another concept similar to the social-bus app, but not for urban travellers this time, is the “We met on a plane” app. This application is about finding a fellow air-traveller who walked away after landing without exchanging much personal information or/and contact details. After downloading the app, the user can search for his/her flight, using filters such as the flight number, the date it took place, origin and destination and then share a story about that specific flight and read all potential stories from other passengers. Then if somebody recognizes him/herself between words, he/she is free to reply to the story and the person who wrote it will receive an e-mail notification and so on.

McAlone, N. (2015), “These are the 15 best apps to meet cool people around you – and while you’re travelling”, Business Insider, [Online] Available from:

Jaffe, E. (2013), “An App for Making Friends on the Subway”, CityLab, [Online] Available from:

PR Newswire (2013), “Finding Love at 30,000: launches mobile app to help passengers re-unite online”, [Online] Available from:

The application should be designed in a way that would be user – friendly and capable of catching users’ eye. Considering that the majority of users are expected to be youngsters, the app’s design should mainly focus on that target group, and attempt to captivate their attention.

The implementation of the innovation (in this case, the launching of the app) could be accompanied by a “promotion period’ by the PTA or PTO, in order to boost its use, at least during the first critical period of time, until it becomes popular. A way to promote the app is for example through smart messages that could appear on VMS screens at stops/stations as well as within the vehicle (bus/metro).

Application that allows PT users to interact with other people travelling with the same mode of transport at the same time, e.g. using the same train, bus, etc.

At the moment a passenger gets on the bus, a notification would show up on his/her phone (free wifi network on the bus and activated GPS services are a prerequisite for the operation of this app) asking if they would like to participate to an online chat room to discuss with or/and follow the discussions held among the rest passengers of this specific bus. It would be mainly youth – oriented. At this chat – room, humorous/romantic messages would be welcome (e.g. “the girl on the red dress sitting by the window at the last row is very beautiful! If she interested in knowing who believes that, she should take the same bus number, same hour tomorrow and wait for me by the ticket vending machine at the middle of the bus”, or “the smile of the tall mysterious guy wearing this cool pair of sunglasses made my day, thank you for that stranger!”).

General concept
  • Attracting more customers
  • Increase customer satisfaction

  • Adaptiveness to evolving markets and customer needs
  • Better experience

  • Individual empowerment
  • Innovative technologies

Taking into account that “social-bus” would be a mobile application, focusing on public transport, like many others that already exist, no particularly supporting actions are required. The existence of free wifi provision would facilitate a lot the implementation and spread of the application within citizens and commuters. Moreover, a well-built marketing strategy would also help, in order to promote the app and attract new users.

Medium (4 to 8 months)
Low (<1 KEuro)
Low (<5 KEuro)
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