Innovation That Matters

In Germany, those travelling by public transport can watch adverts and travel free

Government & Defence

WelectGo is a German based platform that offers users free bus and train tickets in exchange for watching adverts on their phone.

We’ve seen some pretty interesting innovations around public transport. Recently we wrote about this initiative in Bogota that offers users of public transport travel credit in exchange for recycled plastic. And perhaps most notably, we featured this service in the Philippines which uses data from ride-sharing services to help government agencies manage traffic flow. Now, German based startup, WelectGo offers free train and bus tickets in exchange for watching advertising.

Operating in Düsseldorf, Germany, WelectGo users download the app and watch four 20-second ad spots. A train or bus ticket worth EUR 2.60 is then delivered directly to their device. The ticket is valid for up to 90 minutes across the city. The service collects personal information from the user, such as their date of birth, gender, email address, and name, and aggregates them to give anonymized data to the advertisers. Advertisers can also choose how many time a person views each of their ads.

Demand for the service has been high, far outstripping what the creators of the app had anticipated. Currently, free tickets are being used up in just a few hours each day. Whilst there are currently only two sponsors with four ads between them, the company’s success guarantees a steady flow of future sponsors. When there are more ad spots available, passengers will be able to choose the four required advertisements they would prefer to watch.

The app only demands 80 seconds of your time before rewarding you with a ticket worth EUR 2.60, meaning users are earning at an hourly rate of roughly EUR 120. Will this idea be adopted in other cities around the world?


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