UrbanGo is a public transit and mapping startup based in Silicon Valley. Their goal is to solve the problems of urban mobility by offering the quickest and cheapest public and private transport routes to their users.
As I have not been able to download the UrbanGo application, I have relied on a similar app called Citymapper to do the challenge, which has the same claims.
Although the current product of UrbanGo already solves some of the main problems of the urban mobility, there is one pain point for many users: the different amount of public transport tickets the users have to purchase.
Public transport tickets come in paper or plastic cards. Very often buying different public transport tickets is necessary to go from point A to B. And the process of buying these tickets can be very annoying (queues, vending machines that don’t work, etc.).
Finally, things like pricing or purchasing the correct ticket can become a real pain when you are abroad.
For this challenge I had to resolve the problem using the methodology that is known as design thinking, which needs to follow 5 steps:
The first thing I had to do is to ask myself some several questions:
- What problem are you solving? The pain of having to purchase different public transport tickets by different channels.
- Who is your audience? People who have to take different public transports and people who use public transports abroad.
- Who is your client’s competitor? Google Maps
For the interviews, I wanted to ask about their day to day with the transport system, when buying tickets and using applications to save tickets. All questions are focused on the problem to investigate further.
- How do you usually move in your day to day? Some answered me that by car or by subway and what when they went through the city by subway and by bus, although some also rented electric scooters.
- How do you usually buy tickets? What is your routine? Most buy tickets on the same bus, on the metro and one recharges it from the internet
- What problems have you had when buying tickets? What would you change about this method? The machine usually breaks down, sometimes it does not accept some bills or coins and there are usually no staff to assist you. Simple bills are usually paper and you have to throw them away later. For bus tickets many times you have to go to a kiosk or you have to queue to get on the bus and be charged by the driver, so you always leave later than the scheduled time. Everywhere there are queues that often make you lose your transport.
- Do you use any public transport application? And when you travel to other cities? They consult it on the transport website or on google maps. When they travel, they use google maps.
- There are applications to save plane and train tickets, have you ever used it? Yes they use it but they also print the tickets in case it doesn’t work.
From the responses of the users I have been able to deduce, detect the problem and understand it.
Users believe that the ticket purchase system is rude and outdated.
There are applications that save your plane and train tickets, but not for everyday use such as transport cards that have a balance or simple tickets.
There is a general feeling of being “afraid” that the tickets will not go on the mobile because of not using it so much (since you do not go with the plane every day and you do not do this practice frequently).
Finding a solution
After thinking about several solutions, the best one I see is to use nfc technology to put the metro, bus, train cards, etc. in the application and to be able to recharge them from there with the different payment methods as well as when you buy single tickets.
In addition, with the nfc, digital cards can be used even with the phone turned off. Thus we would solve queuing to buy, to be able to buy in a faster way, and now in times of covid, you have to be careful with what you play, it is the best solution.
I have drawn the task of searching between two points, selecting a route and recharging the bus card.
The third screen shows the total price of the route of the different transport systems.
On the fourth screen, the first thing that will appear is a window with the different cards that you must use with their different prices divided by the previous total price. There is a button next to the total price to be able to hide and show the aforementioned window and to be able to access the steps of the route.
If we press the “+” button to add a balance, a screen will appear with the card, the balance, the amount you want to add, the button to pay now and the various payment methods.
When paying, it will confirm you and give you the option to see your cards or return to the route.
If we look at the first screen at the top left, we can see a settings icon.
When you click it, the settings screen appears where you can modify your city, your account and your cards. In the latter, the cards are added, check the balance, recharges and see the details of these.
By interviewing users I have been able to see problems that I could not otherwise, and with the Design Thinking system I have been able to develop my creative ability to solve problems.
I have had problems with UrganGo since I cannot download it and the CityMapper was not available in my city so I have not been able to investigate as I would have liked. Even so I found it very interesting and I am looking forward to continuing with this mechanic and improving!