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Jolo Balbin helps commuters in the Philippines navigate their cities

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 by Raluca Besliu

Driving in the Philippines is famously chaotic and difficult to navigate. Realizing that accessing information about public transportation opportunities and costs is not easily available in his country, Jolo Balbin thought about creating a website that could provide good point-to-point directions in the Philippines and would be focused on commuters.

jolo balbin

Alongside two partners, Ian Maglalang and web designer Camille Zapata, he created Commuters.ph, a web application that aims to provide Filipinos detailed directions, “including step-by-step routes to take, what to ride and how much. The directions provided are crowd sourced and driven by the community. Meaning, the directions are added by commuters or the people who knew how to commute.” 

While there are other sites in the country that provide a similar service, what renders Commute.ph unique is the additional information provided, such as travel costs and commuter experiences, coming directly from the site’s users.

It is  also different in the sense that it is a service for commuters by commuters, where people can interact by liking, disliking or commenting on specific routes, while also integrating social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to allow people to exchange views with friends about routes.

The creators hope the site will become part of commuters’ daily life and that it will eventually be used not just by locals, but by tourists as well.

Since the website is still under development, it has no investors yet and, while the creators have no revenue model currently, in the future, the web application could be monetized through ads or an API. In the future, the website’s creators want to add distance, travel duration, maps and directions from SMS as well as to develop a mobile application.

 

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