FinTech startup is looking to disrupt public transport in Brazil

By September 14, 2017

Sao Paulo-based fintech startup, OnBoard Mobility, wants to change the way that public transport is used in Brazil.

According to the company’s website, OnBoard Mobility wants to bring everything onto one platform: your smartphone.

Using the OnBoard app, which will be available on Android and iOS, users can purchase their credits using their phone to be used in any OnBoard compatible city. The company are hoping to get as many transport organisations on board [ha] as possible. One of the main selling points for the app is the benefit of rewards where users earn credits for using transportation that can be redeemed, presumably, to help paying for rides.

Currently, commuters in Sao Paulo require transport passes from at least three separate companies if they want to get anywhere in the city, such as the PEC [Electronic Pass Carapicuiba], BOM [Metropolitan Bus Ticket], and Single Bus Ticket. Similar issues occur all across the country in smaller cities, too.

OnBoard Mobility wants to combine these three cards to simplify the process, as well as spread the service across throughout cities all over the country. It has already agreed a partnership with SPTrans and is working towards deals with places in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil transport

Luiz Mattos, CEO and Co-founder at OnBoard

Speaking of the initiative, CEO and Co-founder Luiz Renato Mattos said, “We are working to integrate our solution with the Single Ticket. We hope to start the tests in lines of the University City. Our perspective is to provide the solution to the market in February 2018.”

Brazil has been attacked for its infrastructure and public transport in the past, with many feeling the cost of the ticket does not reflect the quality of the service. However, the 2016 Olympics in Rio encouraged the government to invest more in the public transport system.

When discussing the efficiency of public transport development, Olympic transport expert Philippe Bovy said, “The Olympic Games Rio 2016 shall be noted for its extraordinary high performance public transport infrastructure developments, thanks to Olympic catalyst impact, it took Rio only 6-7 years to make a 25-30 year public transport progress jump towards much better urban mobility for all.”

OnBoard is not the first company to move into the world of transport. There is obviously the likes of Uber, EasyTaxi, and Cabify, many of which have moved into offering ride-sharing services. And some countries have even attempted to douse the emergence of taxi app services, considering them a threat to the traditional transport system.

But OnBoard is looking to disrupt the system in a different way, by working alongside it. By simplifying the process, it could inspire a rise in use of public transport, and of course, more users means more funding to be injected into improving the country’s infrastructure.

OnBoard does not want the project to start and end in Sao Paulo; its five year plan is to bring the service nationwide. And after that, depending on the success of the program, we could see OnBoard simplifying public transport worldwide.

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