2019 & 2020 at Trufi. Looking back and forward.

Hi everyone, 

I wanted to take the chance to THANK YOU for being part of Trufi or being interested in it! 

This blog post describes what we did in 2019 and what we are looking for in 2020.

We started Trufi in and for Cochabamba in April 2018 and are now on the edge of helping many more people worldwide to have a public transport app and platform in their city! All of this with open source and open data, and a mission to have our work positively impact people.

I will try to collect my Trufi highlights from last year and hope that you share the same positive memories:

  • January: We invested a lot of time to finalize Trufi app in Cochabamba and to prepare for the go-live, both technology- and marketing-wise.
  • February: We released our App in Cochabamba. Our Bolivian colleagues and I found ourselves on TV shows. Many people in Cochabamba gave us positive feedback and were proud of having the Trufi app for their city.
  • April: We founded Trufi Association e.V. as an NGO to build a legal structure around Trufi app and to underline our social commitment.
  • May: Trufi got publicity in Germany; we had the honor of speaking with representatives of public transport and city government in Hamburg; one of them even mentioned Trufi as “one of the mobility startups in Hamburg”.
  • July: We as a team decided to go open source with the app, which by the way made Trufi the first open source journey planner in the Apple Store worldwide. This felt good to most of us, since we started the whole journey to help people and we can still find a sustainable business model. 
  • October: Accra went online with the Trotro App. The local mapping community AccraMobile3 and Jungle Bus had been creating a GTFS, and Trufi volunteers from Bolivia and Germany customized Trufi core for Accra.
  • November: First talks with Addis Ababa, where we hoped to offer Trufi for the first time as a paid service. Lucky for Addis Ababa, the team AddisMap customized Trufi for Ethiopia, on the basis of a GTFS created by WRI. We are happy that they joined our team and they have heavily contributed to the Trufi app source code.        
  • December: Duitama went online with BusBoy. The local community around Leonardo and his students had prepared all routes in OSM, and could publish the app with little help from the Trufi community.

If I would have to sum up the year, I would say that we have created a wonderful and useful journey planner with many volunteers – including developers, mappers, designers, marketers, translators, and so on – and could then make an important step of opening our source code so that many cities worldwide can benefit from this.

So what is next in 2020?

In general, our vision was and is to make people’s lives easier by giving them better options to go from A to B. Of course, we can do many more things for our vision of giving the best information at each moment, which means that we need perfect data, GPS of vehicles, cool features for commuters, and much more.

End of 2019, we saw two options to reach this vision:

  • Leaving our Trufi code on Github and hoping that cities and communities would improve and use it. Our NGO would have no income and no costs.
  • Getting really engaged with the Trufi app by doing business development and scaling the app to many other cities. Our NGO would have income and costs – and would actively push the development of the Trufi app.

Discussing these two options within our business development workshop (with Michael, Lukas, Malte, and Christoph), we agreed that the second option would better support our vision for Trufi, and would make it more fruitful for the people – when we will push the Trufi App development in the future, we will be hoping for a much better growth and impact.

So this year we will try to find out how to run our business in a sustainable way. While until now the work has been done by volunteers and the money has been donated by private people, we think that we want to pay our costs without donations and that we should recompense long working hours. We need continuous woman and manpower to customize the app, map routes, support with marketing, develop unique app features – and bring the app to more cities. 

Our first approach is to propose three services as an NGO:

  • Basic: Local communities and entrepreneurs can use the open-source app and release it on their own, like Addis Ababa.
  • Premium: We help cities in certain areas, such as to customize the app, set up the OTP servers, or create the GTFS, like we are doing for Manila.
  • Full Service: We support cities in the whole process as we did for Cochabamba.

In 2020, we also want to restructure the Trufi organization to make it more stable and ready to grow. We will setup a more formal structure with official teams and team leads. We want to establish a fellowship program so that public transport enthusiasts from around the world can easily join us.

And of course, in 2020 Trufi will heavily rely on all the volunteers that do translations, write articles, map routes, develop features, clean-up the code, test the app, talk with governments, create designs – thank you very much for being with us and for your help!

So many highlights happened during the last year… and there is much to come in 2020. Thank you once again for being with us during this whole time and working with us on the vision of a wonderful public transport app and platform for many people in the World!

Please contact me if you have any questions on the mentioned topics 🙂

Best wishes, muchos saludos,

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