Better Bus Challenge

About the Challenge

The Better Bus Challenge is an initiative by WRI India, supported by FedEx, that focuses on innovative solutions to improve the quality and operations of public bus systems in Indian cities.

The objective of the Better Bus Challenge is to improve operations and management, commuter experience and service models of public bus systems.

Through the Better Bus Challenge, WRI India will work with entrepreneurs, component manufacturers, technology and service providers and transit agencies develop and co-create solutions specific to the needs of the city.

The Approach

The project will follow a four-pronged approach.

  1. Identify the opportunities for intervention - This phase will focus on identifying key areas of intervention within
    1. Operations & maintenance
    2. Commuter experience
    3. New service models

Data will be collected to verify and validate the opportunity to ensure that solutions developed will be context specific.

  1. Enable ecosystem building – Mobility innovator’s conclaves and multi-stakeholder workshops will be organized around the country to engage with transit agencies, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, technology and service providers and citizen groups to sensitize the ecosystem about the challenges and opportunities within the public transit system in India.
  2. Catalyze Innovation – The Better Bus challenge acts as a platform to catalyze the development and co-creation of new innovative solutions for cities, with city transit agencies. Key players from within the transit agency will be the Better Bus Champions of Change and manage 9-month long demonstration projects the most promising solutions.
  3. Measure impact – WRI India will work with the innovators and the Better Bus Champions within the transit agency to identify and measure the impact of the demonstrated solutions on key performance indicators specific to each demonstration.

Why Better Bus?

With more than 70 million people traveling in buses, state-run public bus providers play a key role in connecting people across the city. Transit agencies, however, have been financially constrained in augmenting urban bus capacity and improving service quality. The proliferation of private vehicle ownership and usage has, in turn, subject public buses to congestion and delays, affecting their reliability and attractiveness. Today only 18% of work trips are made on public transport in India.

For cities to become more productive, there is a need to transition away from the growing trend of vehicle ownership towards more sustainable modes of commute. To aid such a transition and make the system more efficient and attractive, decision makers need to broaden their perspective of urban transportation beyond tradition models. India, being at the forefront of innovation and technology has seen a new wave of mobility solutions; however, limited to the private sector. There is great potential for this technology to transform the country’s public bus services and serve at least 15 million more Indians during their commute to work.

How does the Better Bus Challenge work?

Evaluation - All applications for the Better Bus Challenge will be evaluated by a team of experts in business management, urban mobility, marketing, branding, legal and accounts.

Bootcamp - The 10 best solutions will undertake the Better Bus Bootcamp where the proposed solutions will be developed further with key stakeholders from within the transit agency. Innovators will be mentored by experts in the field of business, design, marketing, finance and investment.

Jury day - The Better Bus Bootcamp will culminate in a jury day where in the three most promising teams will be awarded a total of upto $150,000 for demonstrating their solutions in three selected cities.

Demonstration - WRI India will work with the winning solutions and the champions within the transit agency to facilitate the demonstrations and monitor performance throughout the 9-month long demonstration project.

Who can apply?

Better Bus Challenge will support innovations that are:

  • Led by entrepreneurs, businesses, component manufacturers, technology companies, associations etc.
  • Post prototype and with significant traction
  • Led by a dedicated team and willing to run a pilot/demonstration project from within a transit agency
  • Deeply knowledgeable about their market
  • Highly scalable

Better Bus Challenge will support pilots that are:

  • Easy to integrate into existing systems
  • Aiding policy implementation
  • Affordable for mass consumers
  • Creating value for the entire ecosystem


For terms and condition of the challenge click here