Trufi App goes Open Source

Hereby we make the Trufi App Open Source.

Since our kick-off in April 2018, thousands of volunteer hours have been committed into the Trufi App – an Android and iOS app made for public transport, as is commonly found in emerging markets: minibuses take passengers to their destination via well-known but undocumented routes. There are no stops, because passengers can board and disembark from the vehicle anywhere, as long as there is room in the minibus. Theses minibusses are called “Trufi” (taxi de ruta fija) in Bolivia but have their own names like Daladala, Matatu or Trotro in other countries.

The app was created in Germany and Bolivia:

  • In Cochabamba (Bolivia), a highly motivated team collected over 200 routes of the local “Trufis” – first in its own backend, then as public data with OpenStreetMap. As a result, all routes were made known to the general public.
  • In Hamburg (Germany), the developers developed the frontend and backend of the app, helped in part by their employers Ubilabs. QUIBIQ, and SIRcode.io.

End of 2018, we decided to found a non-profit association for managing the future of this app, since our main motivation was the desire to do something good and have a high social impact.

In February 2019, we released the app in Cochabamba, making a lot of local noise.

In April 2019, we officially founded the Trufi Association NGO, based in Hamburg, but consciously understood as a worldwide network. As of today, we have members from Africa, South America and Europe.

In June 2019, we created a beta version for the app in Accra (Ghana) and called this instance “Trotro app” because Trotro is the Ghanian equivalent of the Bolivian term “Trufi”. Our approach is not to publish a big app with many cities, but that every city, region or country can publish an app with its own identity and user experience, to have the highest possible user acceptance.

 All along, we’ve been committed to and benefiting from open technologies such as Flutter, OpenTripPlanner, OpenStreetMap. From the beginning, we already had some data tools released Open Source on GitHub.

In August 2019, we decided to open source the app – why?

Our original goal was to make it easy for as many people as possible to find their way around in informal public transport. And at the same time, we did it for fun and with the desire to do something good for society.

We believe that this step will maximize the spread of the app, as cities and communities will be able to deploy the app themselves.

We have released the app under the AGPL license, so that extensions to the app by individual developers or cities are returned to the community, and hence the code formally remains under the ownership of Trufi Association eV.

As Trufi Association, we offer the following services to cities:

  • Adapting the Trufi App to local identities, features and user experience
  • Collecting the routes of informal traffic
  • Creating a virtual schedule
  • Hosting the schedule server
  • Providing points of interests and intersections for the Trufi search
  • Support with the whole process from the first steps to go live
  • Hosting the app on Google Play and Apple Store

The Trufi Association likes to help all cities on their way to their own public transport app! Please contact us here, on info@trufi-association.org or follow us on https://www.linkedin.com/company/trufi-association.

Authors: Christoph Hanser and the Trufi Association team

Thanks to Enock, Michael and David for giving feedback to the article!

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