Nov. 18, 2020. Interview with Ulysse Lichtlé, General Manager of BusUp Perú by Esther Sardans
Let’s start with a fundamental question. What is a French man doing in Perú?
Well, I came to Perú in 2012 at 26 years old for a surfing trip that actually never really ended. I fell in love with Peru’s culture, ocean front location of Lima and its dynamic economy. After that, I looked for a good pretext to settle down and the transportation sector has been my gateway.
You have been working for several years now in the transportation sector but could you tell us which is the story behind your boarding in BusUp?
It was April 2020 in the middle of the quarantine. I received a call from José Juan Ciccia (Jota), my surfing and business buddy, Commercial Director of Turismo Civa – one of Peru’s major long distance bus companies. He told me about a mobility solution that was arising. The idea came from his friend Alfredo Pinillos who had assisted a presentation of Rui Stoffel – BusUp CEO – in Barcelona weeks before. They were captivated with the idea and were looking for a Country Manager to implement the model in Peru.
It took a lot of convincing from their part? Why did you choose BusUp?
Not really. I felt really excited to participate in a company that can help with mobility transition in Peru. Smart commuting model immediately made sense to Alfredo, Jota and I. We also felt very comfortable with BusUp’s young and dynamic team. We had a lot of interesting talks with Rui Stoffel about the inner sense of service of BusUp, and its practical approach of business, which has been key for us to get to the market with a win-win deal for local players. BusUp vision is crystal clear on that point: consolidating demand for transportation operators on one side and optimizing supply for the clients on the other.
Why is BusUp the right fit for Peru? Which problems can BusUp solve?
One of Lima’s biggest challenges is to improve mobility services and infrastructure. 66% of its inhabitants are using a chaotic public transportation system, characterized by fragmented private companies. A quarter of Lima citizens spend more than 2 hours commuting every day and the city is ranked 3rd in public transportation unsatisfation level among 11 largest Latin American cities. We are talking about long, uncomfortable, warm, noisy, unsanitary and many times dangerous travels. BusUp can improve Lima commuters’ quality of life by offering safe and comfortable trips and by playing a key role in decongesting its streets.
How can Peruvian companies benefit from BusUp’s services?
Peruvian companies are making tremendous efforts to improve all their processes. BusUp has a key role to play there. I am thinking about budget optimizations but also about technology investments and sustainable development goals, especially quality standards. BusUp comes as a smart mobility consulting partner that helps achieve those goals with technology and with neither money nor time investments. As a third-party expert, BusUp does all the job so companies can focus on their core business and priorities.
How do you think Covid-19 will affect mobility in general and BusUp in particular?
Covid-19 completely shifted our mobility expectations. Yesterday premium requirements are now standard. I’m speaking about cleanliness, space between people, contactless check-in, contact traceability, etc.
The demand of safe corporate commuting services has risen, as well as BusUp market possibilities. The more organizations use mobility, the bigger is their need to do it smart, flexible and efficiently. That’s BusUp genius!
Where do you see the future of mobility?
I don’t think Covid-19 will annihilate human tendency to see what’s behind the next mountain and cultivate face to face working relationships. That said, environmental issues of mobility are a serious concern that we all have to fight.
Mobility issues are scattered between this global massive connection need and an increasing green individual demand. I think that the sharing economy model offers a good solution in this way. To me, tomorrow’s mobility major challenge lies on multimodal transportation solutions.
How do you think transport can change people’s life?
In 2017 I travelled alone around South-America by motorcycle. Looking backwards, I believe that achieving this personal milestone, made of freedom and discovery quest, made me a better and more confident person. However, the ability to move from one’s place to another is still limited in Latin America due to strong social inequalities. I hope we can make transportation more sustainable and accessible for everyone.
From Titanic to Hyperloop, mobility history is fascinating. To me, transport science should enter mankind’s 7 top arts classification. Today’s technology allows us to avoid plenty of unnecessary trips. Now, whether we’re talking about bus or drone commuting, the point is to make any trip relevant.
Esther Sardans is a renowned journalist, communication expert and coach. @EstherSardans
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