Executive Spotligh: Rui Fernandez, BusUp


Posted: 07/23/2020
Category: Member Spotlight


BusUp is the one-stop-shop shared commuter service provider for corporations located in suburbs of major cities with mobility limitations due to the lack of public solutions.  We provide not only the technology to operate a shared network of corporate shuttles but also bus outsourcing, daily operation management, customer support, incident solving and route optimization for cost improvement, among other added value services.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

Create a vast, reliable, affordable, and sustainable network of shared corporate commute shuttles to attend companies, TMA's and public transit authorities and contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and traffic congestion.  The experience acquired implementing BusUp in LATAM and EU will now be used to expand BusUp throughout the United States and rolling out the platform to attend all members of the ACT community.

How did you get to where you are today?

In 2016 we were financed by the European Commission with a 1.5 Million euros Grant to develop Busup’s Shared corporate commute platform and make trial tests in Spain.  With additional financing, we were able to expand within 18 months of activity (since September 2018) to USA, Brazil, and Portugal.  Today we operate more that 200 daily routes and 4000 passengers for a multitude of major corporations.

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

There is still a long way to go to find affordable TDM solutions.  On-demand transport as proved to be very efficient in routing and user experience but has also proven not to be affordable in most cases.  The willingness to pay of the user is still far from the cost of a seat in on-demand mobility.  Carpooling has grown, but it has only proven to work consistently for B2B.  Since COVID, we are seeing much more commitment from government authorities to re-think the mobility model, especially in metro areas.  Government authorities are now more and more open to subsidize corporate routes in the EU and we think this way of thinking will develop all around the world.  We believe that this crisis will help accelerate the change into a more ambitious and sustainable model not based on private cars.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years?

I think there will be three major groups of TDM.  (1) The software platforms either in SaaS and/or White label, (2) Transport service providers such as BusUp with their own tech or outsourced and (3) Assets managers, former Bus operators.  This last group will become more relevant when self-driving vehicles start to be a standard in the industry.  They will be the ones providing Buses and cars to groups (1) and (2).

What brought you to ACT? What has been the most memorable part of your involvement in ACT?

Shared commute services are B2B, and basically settled on trust between clients and the service or Coach provider.  The market has been suffering a lot with a long list of failures that caused companies to adjust their commute programs every time a new startup closes (Chariot, Bridj,…).  Now clients search reliability and a company that can guarantee a continuous operation.  This trust is based on relations and the ability to understand the client’s pain points and show them they can trust you.

What keeps you motivated?

Knowing that we are building a company that not only makes money but also contributes to help society by improving people’s lives and has a strong positive impact on the environment

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?

When I realized that I'm doing something that I really like and that I helped create a company that not only solves an actual mobility problem but also improves people's lives and contributes to reducing the environmental impact of CO2 emissions.  It's the feeling of having a positive and sustainable contribution towards society.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?

My father always said that “Problems are a pool of opportunities for those willing to question established drivers” and “there is no change without rupture”. We use these concepts every day at BusUp.

Value propositions and businesses that are built on speculation proposals always end with a sad story.  We are seeing this now with COVID.  All businesses that were based on buying clients with aggressive marketing strategies, not caring about burn rates are facing strong losses and, in some cases, will fall because they have to buy their clients all over again.  Business must always create added value to the clients to be sustainable in time and one must always be aware of changes in the market needs to adapt its value proposition.  COVID has proven that only the most solid and flexible business models will survive.

Any additional thoughts to share?

People are the essence of a company and of its success, I have witnessed in BusUp during this crisis what it means to have people that are 200% committed to the company, not only because they love to work here but because they believe in what the project stands for.  More than ever, people are moved by principles rather than money and COVID has maximized this effect.  Treat your collaborators properly and you will get an overwhelming response from them.



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