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The Man Behind Transit App’s Mantra

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”

May 31, 2016

Back when Guillaume and Sam were still building Transit App in their living rooms, they adopted the words above as the company mantra. They included it in every pitch they prepared, they placed it prominently on their website, they even put it on their business cards.

As the team began to grow, every new hire shared that worldview — a love of clean code counterbalanced by a healthy mistrust of “car culture”.

We’re not just talking theory, either. In fact, of the 15 employees at Transit App, not a single one of us drives to work, a quarter of us don’t have licenses, and only one of us even owns a car — and rumor has it that his days are numbered 😉

Between the transit maps and bicycles that adorn our walls, there’s that classic quote, which has inspired us since Day 0. Three years later, we decided to pay homage to the man behind it: Enrique Peñalosa. A dozen inspiring quotes from the world’s most transit-friendly mayor.

The mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Enrique is perhaps the world’s most transit-friendly politician. He oversaw the construction of TransMilenio, the world’s first modern Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), which now carries over 2M people a day — a number greater than any US subway system besides NYC. He restricted vehicle usage based on license plate numbers to reduce congestion. He scrapped plans for a new highway. He grew the city’s bike path network by 350km, making it the largest network in Latin America.

In the process, he helped transform a violent and corrupt city into a more peaceful one, and into a symbol of the revitalizing power of good public transit.

Turns out our friend Enrique is also a pretty inspiring (and quote-worthy) guy. We spent a few days compiling some of his best transit quips, and turned them into If you know a friend who swears by their car (or an irritable uncle who swears at bikers), maybe pass them a link.

And if you know somebody who this actually sounds like, perhaps you get them to send us a CV. We’re always looking to hire great people who are passionate about building better cities.

Curiosity piqued? You can get Transit for free on the App Store and Google Play.
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