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Bridj Comes to a Halt

Bridj's bet that it could, well, bridge ride-hailing and public transit didn't pay off. Lacking new investment, the company is shutting down.
May 5, 2017, 10am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jason Lawrence

Inspired by the success of Uber and Lyft, Bridj attempted to disrupt public transit with a van-based model. Linda Poon writes, "Bridj works by allowing users to request a ride in one of its 14-seat vans whose routes are calculated by an algorithm so that riders are picked up and dropped off in the most efficient manner. Each ride costs passengers between $1.50 and $7, depending on what’s agreed upon with the city."

The startup saw some early success by partnering with Ford. "It shortened trips for thousands of Boston commuters, it eventually extended limited service to Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, and it got Ford Motors Co. and the Kansas City Area Transit Authority to pilot a year-long experiment in Missouri."

Now, as the company shuts its doors, the question is why couldn't Bridj catch on. "Many didn't use the app beyond the first 10 free rides, despite the fact that the service attracted a largely younger and wealthier crowd—which raised the question of whether Bridj was accessible for the low-income population." Marketing was also lacking, and the company had trouble identifying where shuttles would be needed most.

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Published on Monday, May 1, 2017 in CityLab
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