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Bouncing back: using our imagination to make transport fun

by Mieszko Iwaskow, Chief Strategy Officer

We all need a little fun in our lives.

Kingston General Hospital in Ontario, Canada has given us a great example of how a little bit of lateral thinking goes a long way to help inspire and delight: taking the otherwise ordinary task of cleaning their building windows, they added a healthy mix of superhero costumes to give their child patients (and, let’s be honest, their parents too) a little bit of a thrill. Such a small change, and yet it resulted in such a clear positive impact for patients in the hospital. Let’s look at how this relates to making transport fun.

We can find many other examples across other industries of using alternative approaches to make work more engaging for employees and those interacting with that business. Just because something has been done the same way forever doesn’t mean the norm can’t be challenged to generate a better experience for all.

The public transport experience represents rich pickings (and low hanging fruit) for improvement. We’ve seen some good examples pop up as outliers: underground buskers, enthusiastic ticket inspectors, piano stairs in stations, use of art and live music. Each provides an example that’s gone viral thanks to the delight they generate and in brightening up the day-to-day commuter trips. But these singular examples are not enough. Given the fact that many of us spend an abundance of our personal time moving around, there is still a distinct lack of choice and content to engage with on our journeys for those looking for something different. In some large cities, such as Sydney, the average commute is over an hour a day. What an incredibly long period of time to spend with sometimes little variety to engage with beyond the norm depending on the journey.

What I am talking about is adding more variety, and choice to your trip. Using different ways to give passengers more options, and encouraging people to interact with public transport in a different way. We believe that giving people the option to have fun on their public transit journeys will encourage them to use public transit more, and get out of their cars.

As people have faced lockdowns and social distancing over the past two years, public transport use across our towns and cities has plummeted. At the height of lockdowns in many cities usage dropped by over 90%. Although people are now getting back onto public transport across some cities, the impact of the last couple of years will be felt for a long time. Let’s embrace this as an opportunity to try new things which create a better overall experience for those using public transport. We have an opportunity to test new things, and try and draw on other industries to spice up how we use transport and make it interesting.

Band plays live jazz on a Vine bus while driving along the Fourth Plain corridor in Vancouver on a Friday evening.

As a child I always looked forward to the trips on the bus, train or ferry. The journeys were always exciting and filled with new people and things to see on the way. As I grew up, like many, the excitement faded, and I ended up on transit trips because I had to be, not because I wanted to.

Here at Mobli we’re tapping into our childhood imaginations and seeing what fun and engaging ways can change the way we interact with public transport. We’re building the Shopify of mobility for transport operators to provide more engaging content to passengers: choose mobility options more easily, pay more seamlessly, watch movies, play games, and be rewarded for engaging in advertising that’s genuinely relevant to them - all the while offsetting the carbon emissions for every journey. Mobli is working to make mobility more sustainable, more accessible, and importantly, more fun.

What ideas do you have to get people back using public transport and bring some fun into the way we travel? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Drop us a line here to learn more about what we're getting up to so we can stay in touch, and visit us at

Odenplan Piano Stairs, Stockholm, Sweden.

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