I stumbled on Loup a couple of weeks ago. Recode.net had the perfect headline describing it- “Loup: The Love Child of Uber and a Bus Service.”
Loup provides larger vehicles on a fixed route and you book your seat via an app. This allows them to provide significantly cheaper pricing than Uber because they’re increasing the number of passengers. The app also provides payment services as well as real time info on the scheduled vehicle. This reminds me of the “original” transit – jitney’s (aka shared taxis).
This is an intriguing idea that could blindside transit companies the way Uber has hit taxi companies. Loup would peel off the “profitable” routes from the public transit agencies, leaving them to lose even more money. It would also be interesting to apply this model to school bus services.
And speaking of Uber, it sounds like they’re going to “anonymyze” their rider data (origin/destination/duration) and make the data sets available to public agencies (read more at the Washington Post). Cool stuff!