The University of Maryland computer science major and four friends created the Route Rider application for smartphones to help people predict when university shuttle buses will come to local bus stops, like NextBus for Metrobuses.
Why do you need a bus predicting service? How does that help?
There's always a couple of times a day where I have to make a decision based on whether or not I'll take the bus. For example, after class: Do I have time to stay with my professor or will it be another 20 minutes for the next bus? Or when I am coming out of the gym, do I need to run down to catch the next bus or can I just make my way down there and hop on the bus when it gets there? All of these things made me think if I could just look at my phone and find this information, I wouldn't have to guess.
When did you make the app?
We started the app last winter break during our spare time and released it for Android last semester, and now we're releasing it for the iPhone.
How many people are using it?
Right now for Android, there are 1,000 users.
So how does the business work and make money?
It's an interesting model. The transit agencies actually pay us for the service, and we, in turn, release the app for free to the riders.
The University of Maryland is paying you guys?
Correct. We are in a one-year trial period with them right now.
Had you ever made an app before this?
Just to learn how to do app development, before we started doing this, we made a fun little app called Terp Meals, which allows University of Maryland students to see what's being served at the dining halls. ... It has about 400-500 users.
What happens after you graduate in May?
I'll be moving to San Francisco and doing mobile app development for Twitter.