Interview with Maren Küppers
An app for disabled folks using public transit. Find out more on the project website
Clickbus is an app that sends a signal to the desired bus, so that the bus driver knows that a Clíckbus user can already see the bus and the user is there in a few seconds. The bus driver takes care to wait a few seconds.
Hi Maren! Would you explain Clickbus and how the app would work for disable people who rely on public transit?
ClickBus is an app which is for people who can't walk very well. It's not just for people who have a walking disability forever or for just a specific time. It's helpful for people who can't walk very well because of age. ClickBus is an app which sends a message to the bus driver who then knows if a person is coming and that the person needs a minute longer because of a walking disability. The first step is to set up an account with ClickBus. When you feel that you won't catch a bus in time you make a request. This is checked by the server whether he or she is allowed to use ClickBus and the distance between the user at the bus stop is calculated, it shouldn't be more than 200 meters. This happens in real time. If it's all approved then the bus driver gets a request. The bus driver then replies to state whether he can or cannot wait. If the bus can wait, then he waits one minute more and prepares the bus, using a ramp.
What inspired this project? How did you come up with it?
In 2015 I was in eighth class at middle school. I had to choose between two courses for ninth class. One of the courses I chose was home economics and the other course was Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. I selected this because I don't like cooking and I was interested in taking part in this competition. The first prize was to travel to New York and meet with the other winners from all over the world. I didn't have any motivation to start a start-up yet, I just wanted to travel to New York. During this course I learnt how to think like an entrepreneur and create a business plan. At first I had a completely different idea. During this time I lived in a village. The village was 25 kilometres away from my school. I was dependent on public transport. When my train was late I had two minutes to catch my school bus. Very often I wasn't able to get to the bus in this time, even if I was I trying my best. I have a walking disability which means I can't walk fast. Missing the bus meant I had to call a taxi or walk the last five kilometres. One day when it happened again, I decided to walk to school. I didn't have enough money for a taxi. It was winter and I was cold. During this walk to school, I started thinking about this problem. That was the moment when the idea for ClickBus begun.
You have been to a number of start-up fairs in New York and the Summit Summer Fair in Berlin- what was the reaction to your project? Did people have feedback?
I have found that many people are interested in ClickBus and finding out more about it. Marcus Lotz who is the vice president of MasterCard was very interested in the New York City fair. We talked a lot. The reaction to my project is continuously positive and I get great feedback and tips on how to improve the app. I'm very grateful for all the feedback.
Who is on your team? Who is working to make this app happen?
At the moment I'm doing this project alone in my free time after a school day. That doesn't mean that I don't get support from other people. If I need advice I can say ask Marcus Lotz and I will be looking at creating a team so the work can be split up.
What stage of the project are you in? What do you need to make ClickBus a reality?
ClickBus was born in 2016 and it was created in 2018. That was the reason for moving out of my parent's home over to Hamburg. In 2018, I was seriously ill again, when I was ill I decided to create ClickBus. Currently, I still go to school and work on my project in my free time. A website is in the making and we already have a Facebook page. In May, I'll be taking part in a pitch competition. My biggest target is to convince a public transport company to use ClickBus. I want to win the German House for this project. ClickBus offers a solution for people with a need to use public transport. In my opinion, you shouldn't pay something because you have a disadvantage. In short, for ClickBus to work it needs to partner with public transport companies.