It is no easy feat navigating the roads that make up Latin America’s congested cities, let alone understanding where to buy a bus ticket or at what hour you can expect to arrive at your desired destination.
What this does mean, however, is that there is a space for start-ups such as Argentina’s Subirte that have risen to the challenge of streamlining the transport process.
Established in 2016, this Buenos Aires-based company has built a platform that plans, reserves and allows you to pay for a travel route in one simple online space and also through their app that works on both android and iOS. In light of many outdated bus and combi websites, the company’s aim to centralise the process and bring transport reservations under one umbrella site will both enhance efficiency and allow space for more choice, as their website exclaims ‘Combis, charters, lanchas y mas!’.
The team headed by Mariano Louit, Damián Gazek and Pilar Anes also looks to improve environmental effects and traffic regulations by offering more information on public routes and allowing users to save their favourite vehicles and trips within the app.
It has been reported by the online publication Start-Ups Argentina that, following an initial $400,000 investment into the birth of the online platform, the company has since seen 300 users across Argentina (as well as Brazil) download their app to reserve travel tickets by way of 12 transport companies. Facing the challenge of modernising South America’s approach to transportation, Subirte will also see a further investment of $40,000 this year as they seek to achieve the target of 300,000 users across a number of countries.
Furthermore, based on reports from Start-Ups Argentina, Subirte will profit from a ten percent commission upon every booking through its platform however it is rivalled by a number of apps that can offer both a private transport service and a similar amount of booking efficiency.
The start-up faces stiff competition from other transport apps such as Uber or EasyTaxi that already has a strong worldwide following of 20 million users and places emphasis upon holding their drivers and passengers accountable with ratings, reviews and safety checks. With a unique selling point of a female only cohort Brazil’s Femitaxi also looks to improving the safety of travelling as a solo female passenger and is just one of a number of platforms already operating within South America.
The question of whether Subirte can conquer South America remains to be seen, yet the appeal of an app that focuses on cheaper transport methods rather than private cars and taxis could work to Subirte’s advantage. Though the website offers short, medium and long-distance travel solutions it appears that going forward the company will begin to place emphasis on tourist routes and airport transfers. Transport systems within South America will remain in the spotlight as countries race to improve road usage and mobility. Though Uber might offer ease for the more eco-friendly traveller Subirte might eventually offer a greener and cost-effective alternative.