If you ride public transportation, pay attention. Many big cities have sophisticated apps to help you know exactly when and how to ride the bus, but until recent Minneapolis did not.
Not to be one-upped by other technocratic cities, Matt, along with the rest of the OMG Transit team, decided to change that with their release of mspbus.org – a mobile-friendly Metro Transit bus route and locator service. After some initial traction, the team has expanded to other transportation services, while rebranding to the catchier OMG Transit.
We caught up with UX Designer, and inaugural Beta.MN 1.0 pitch-man, Matt Decuir, to learn where the idea for the app came from.
Reed: So how did OMG get started?
Matt: OMG Transit started at the National Day of Civic Hacking in June 2013. Our initial goal was simple – build a reliable and accurate real-time bus app for the Twin Cities. Within six hours, our team launched a prototype that looked good on both mobile devices and on the web.
Following our success at the hack-a-thon, we presented at MinneDemo and were honored at a White House event for our contributions to civic hacking and open government. Recognizing the value of integrating additional modes of transit, we added NiceRide and the University of Minnesota Campus Connector, and rebranded as OMG Transit in September 2013.
Reed: Wow, you guys are really taking off. Any other successes?
Matt: OMG Transit was one of six teams accepted into the Innovation Pipeline, a civic hacking incubator program sponsored by Intel. And our traffic has doubled since we pushed Car2Go live in early December 2013.
Also, earlier this month, we were invited to an open discussion about creative entrepreneurship with Alexis Ohanion, the co-founder of Reddit, at the Walker Art Center.
Reed: Where do you see your start-up in one year?
Matt: Our focus from the beginning has been to solve a problem and provide a really good user experience, so we’re going to keep doing that. We want to do a really good job, first in the Twin Cities, and then expand to other U.S. Cities. After that, we’ll start thinking about taking over the world…
Reed: Respect. Thank you on behalf of every Minnesotan who has ever stood at a bus stop for more than five minutes. It’s people like you who make it possible for the rest of us to tolerate living in below zero temps.
Take off your choppers and shake Matt’s hand at Beta.MN – 1.0. Tickets are almost gone, so make sure to get yours before they run out.