Hyperlocal Thinking In Practice: Insights from the Team Behind Rumbo

We recently announced the launch of Rumbo, our Android app designed to improve the public transport experience in emerging-market megacities. In this post, some of the team involved in Rumbo’s development share their perspectives on the challenges — as well as the rewards — associated with building an innovative consumer product for Majority-World markets.

Guillaume Boniface-Chang, Head of Product at WhereIsMyTransport, says that Rumbo “solves a problem no other mobility apps are solving,” delivering comprehensive network data in cities where 80% of commuters use modes with flexible routes, timetables, and fare structures — modes that are poorly covered by other apps. And unlike other products, Rumbo covers the entire functional city, including public transport routes that start far outside formal city boundaries. WhereIsMyTransport has built capacity beyond that of any other organisation to rapidly produce accurate and reliable mobility data in Majority-World megacities, supporting our clients with that information as well as differentiating Rumbo’s offering from that of other public transport apps.

Claire Enslin, Product Manager, adds that “WhereIsMyTransport maps, at a hyperlocal level, information that has never been digitalised before, then makes that available to people.” The result is that Rumbo “looks at the mobility options that the majority of people are using,” rather than being limited to incomplete data from third parties that only represents one part of the complete public transport network.

Accurate mobility data is an integral part of the Rumbo experience. Guillaume shares that “for the people who trust our data and our product, receiving reliable information is essential for daily life. It’s not trivial.” Claire adds that user feedback “validates everything we’ve done to empower people; to deliver better mobility information that improves their daily lives.”

The hyperlocal approach taken with Rumbo includes how route, stop, and trip-planning information is displayed, always with a goal of matching commuter expectations. This principle of meeting public-transport users where they are — something which requires adaptation in every city — spans everything we do at WhereIsMyTransport. Claire shares that the team behind Rumbo takes great care to integrate this principle, making everything about the app hyperlocal, “from the tone of voice to the design principles we practice.”

Rumbo users value the product. The app has reached over 100,000 users and delivered over 750,000 real-time network disruption alerts since launch. What’s more, users contribute their own on-the-ground updates, such as disruptions to routes, validated and then shared with other users. Through Rumbo, commuters are helping build a community — using moments of their days to make sure that other users have the shortest trip possible on public transport.

Rumbo review from the Google Play Store

Stories about data, mobility and Majority-World megacities.