Rebuilding a National Public Transportation App

Polcode Team
3 minutes read

Gipsyy is a long-distance bus transportation app, allowing users in Portugal to schedule their optimal bus routes, purchase tickets, and review their payments--all within a convenient mobile and web app.

Gone are the nostalgic days of buying bus tickets at the station. Today’s users expect web and mobile apps to be their one-stop transport guide. In a time when apps like Google Maps dominate how we get around, public transportation apps like Gipsyy offer the smoothest way for users to plan their destinations and buy tickets on their devices.

Gipsyy is the latest in transportation apps for long-distance bus routes to key destinations in Portugal and Spain. It was commissioned by Scotturb, a public urban transport company deeply intertwined with the history of public transport in Portugal. They carry a mission to ensure adequate and effective mobility, gaining the public’s trust thanks to a safe, comfortable and high-quality public transport service. Scotturb is driven by 460 transit professionals who provide high-quality services for over 50,000 passengers, transported daily by a modern fleet of 160 vehicles, making 1,900 trips a day.

The Gipsy app is their online station to over 44 main routes.

Detour! Recalculating Optimal Routes

Polcode received this project after another agency had provided unsatisfactory results. When taking over a project, it’s critical for our teams to kick off a thorough audit process in order to determine which parts of the project can be salvaged, and which need to be rebuilt.

After performing our due diligence, it’s never easy to tell a client that their app would need to be rewritten from scratch. Thankfully, the Gipsyy team was keen on getting through their major detour after seeing the roadmap we provided to deliver the app.

A scrapped software journey presents an opportunity for new routes. We began rewriting their web-based Rails app from scratch, as well as the mobile versions for the Android and iOS app stores.

“Polcode turned our partnership into what felt like a professional and cohesive team. They are always available and flexible in their approach, yet still provide systematic, step-by-step solutions to the problems we faced while building the previous version of the app.
— CRISTIANO MOTTA, CTO at Scotturb // Gipsyy


Where To? Passenger-Centric Design

The primary goal was to establish users’ needs and create a seamless flow so that users could find their optimal bus routes, book their preferred schedules, and easily proceed with payments on their web or mobile screens.

Transportation UX design shows that users rely on digital maps when selecting their optimal routes. Seeing the journey route, time, price, and distance on a map interface helps users quickly make a visual connection.

When selecting an itinerary, open calendar interfaces speed up user actions, and are less time consuming than drop-down menus or data entry fields.

Passenger information is simple and straightforward with additional fields that cater to those accompanying children.

And of course, no journey would be complete with the ability to add a return route, using the same open calendar interface that displays departure and return dates.

Ticket Please! Payments In Transit

We knew early on that reducing friction in ticket payments would be a key objective for the project. Frustrating payment processes (in any app) can instantly break down a user’s journey into a negative experience. When creating a smooth-running payments structure, we kept multiple goals top-of-mind:

  • Provide easily accessible digital tickets that are never lost or damaged
  • Increase user satisfaction by offering as many payment methods as possible
  • Help save time by simplifying the UI and UX
  • Ensure end-to-end flow works smoothly
  • Scale system to accept other payment methods over time

Next Stop - User and Admin Flows

With over 17 years of experience in software projects, we remember a time when it was ‘enough’ for a software house to only provide technical knowledge and coding. But in today’s software product design process, it is not enough to just know code and programming. We need to be keen on the business requirements of each feature, and deliver value from every aspect of the business. The following features were core to Gipsyy’s business goals, and we developed them not just with speed and performance in mind, but how they impact customers, improve operations, and expand Gipsyy’s portfolio and growth in a competitive market.

  • Instant User Account Creation

In order to reduce friction associated with buying tickets, we made sure users knew their options to either create accounts as typically done, or conveniently manage their travel bookings directly from their mobile number.

  • Mobile App

Polcode also built the Android and iOS mobile versions, available in their respective app stores. The app offers the exact same functionalities as the web version. Passengers get a simple way to manage their bookings, retrieve digital tickets, and check their routes on their mobile devices. The web and mobile versions share the same functionalities and the same look and feel.

  • Help

We also introduced an FAQ section, which unsurprisingly, is one of the most visited pages on public transportation websites. The Help section beautifully simplifies this process, minimizing the amount of information displayed at one time. Users can choose between the most commonly asked categories, or get in touch with a live support member through WhatsApp.

  • Admin Panel

GoGipsyy was created to make the lives of administrators easier, giving them a single control center for the website’s contents. Within the panel, admins can manage the information displayed on each page, as well as the localization features for different languages.


Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Throughout our journey in developing the Gipsyy app, we always kept in mind who the product was for. Identifying a passenger’s needs, motivations and key friction points motivated our team to help users make clear decisions and book trips without hiccups.

Polcode and Gipsyy worked together under a classic Agile framework, maintaining a continuous thread of communication, mitigating any surprises within the scope of work or planned timelines. Weekly and daily reports came from the Polcode dev team side during joint stand-ups with Gipsyy, and both teams got to enjoy a collaborative, relaxed atmosphere while sharing a common goal.

“As their name suggests, Polcode has great quality code. We inspected it using SonarQube, and it follows the standards and guidelines that are completely satisfactory.”— CRISTIANO MOTTO, CTO at Scotturb // Gipsyy

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