The Power of Ideas: Matthew George

The founder of Bridj might know how to fix the T (just a little bit.) —By Karen Weintraub

matthew george bridj

Photo provided by Bridj

The MBTA is $9 million in debt, our light-rail fleet is ready for retirement, and winter is coming. One bright spot: With the state’s back to the wall, Governor Charlie Baker won a three-year window to attempt to do what previous governors couldn’t: privatize some elements of public transportation. It’s an initiative that could save millions and improve service. It’ll also be under scrutiny from public-sector unions and watchdog groups worried about losing state jobs. Any takers?

First up is likely to be the Boston transit startup Bridj, which uses apps and data to match people who need rides with bus companies that can provide seats. Bridj could be a perfect match for the MBTA’s late-night service—young riders love it, and some low-income workers need it, but volume is relatively low and overhead is high. Matthew George, who founded the company in his dorm room at Middlebury College, says Bridj is ready to step up: It provided 100,000 rides in Boston in the first eight months of the year.