Student getting on bus

The Road to Victory: Winners of Better Bus Challenge Announced

Three start-ups of a mass-transit challenge are now working to develop pilot projects on the busy streets of India’s cities.

Student getting on bus

Commuters in India may soon be able to reserve seats in air-conditioned buses during peak hours via a mobile app and at competitive prices. The idea, from Mumbai, India–based Cityflo — a start-up described as “an on-demand bus aggregator” — was one of 75 entries in the Better Bus Challenge, sponsored by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and FedEx. India’s booming population and economy have created tremendous demand for more rapid-transit capacity — including 650,000 new buses within the next four years.

Cityflo joins two other finalists: Cell Propulsion, which is innovating a proprietary powertrain technology to convert diesel buses to electric power, and Small Spark Concepts, which has developed a product to reduce fuel demand and tailpipe emissions. Each received a financial grant of $50,000 and will be receiving ongoing support and mentorship from transportation experts at WRI India. “Over the next year, the winning companies will work closely with the transit agencies to contextualize the solutions to the specific needs of their pilot cities and demonstrate the impact of their solutions on improving the efficiency, access and quality of commute for all,” says Madhav Pai, director of WRI India.

The Contest’s Debut Year

Entrants from several countries besides India — including the United States, Canada and the Netherlands — competed in the Better Bus Challenge, which asked for solutions addressing three areas of intervention: boosting operational efficiency, improving the customer experience and supporting the transition to electric buses.

FedEx has long been committed to sustainable transportation, not only in our own fleets but in public transit systems around the world. “At FedEx, we are committed to creating possibilities that deliver a positive impact for the communities where we live and work,” says Philip Cheng, vice president of Ground Operations India, FedEx Express. “Our objective in supporting the Better Bus Challenge was to encourage stakeholders to create innovative solutions for the public bus transit system in India, making it more affordable, accessible and sustainable. We have been impressed by the innovation and passion exhibited by all the participating teams and look forward to the implementation of the winning solutions.”

WRI and FedEx

Since 2010, FedEx has helped train more than 9,000 transportation officials and drivers, improving public transportation for almost 5 million people in 36 cities around the world. Those cities have included Bangalore, India; Beijing; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Mexico City, where projects in collaboration with WRI have optimized bus rapid transit and reduced pollution. Whether it’s getting to work or school, or accessing vital goods and services, better mobility contributes to a better life. At FedEx, we believe in connecting people to possibilities and helping communities access opportunities, as we are convinced this will help us all move forward. Learn more.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories following the progress of Better Bus Challenge winners through June 2019. Read the first story.

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