de: Fundaţia Vodafone România April 28, 2016

For our meeting at the University Square, Florin Georgescu arrives pedaling on a bicycle tandem. Tandem, similar to the name of the blind people association for whom he acts as a director. He has summoned three more friends for this get together, so that in a few minutes we find ourselves in the middle of a vocal group of blind people.

Now that the project Smart Public Transport has been completed, we want to test the system of beacons that has been fitted on 500 means of public transport. We are heading toward the bus station where Florin starts the application on his phone. Via this app, he is informed about the number of the buss that arrives at the station in the following seconds. The voice of the app flows so fast that the rest of us cannot understand what it says, but for our blind friends, there seems to be no problem at all.

We decide to take the first bus to the next station, Cișmigiu, walk across the street, take a bus in the opposite direction and return to the University Square. The trip is smooth, without adventures, under the permanent guidance of the rapid voice coming from the phone.

The mission has been accomplished, we can relax now and the cheerful group starts to chatter. They confess that it has been a while since they last saw each other, so there is a lot they want to share. This is how we find out about the Golden Retriever Alexandra is going to receive on the weekend, a dog trained to accompany blind persons; about the role of Orpheus which is interpreted by Cătălin in a play, followed by a live demonstration of a few verses, all in a very serious tone of voice; the First Escape, a bicycle competition some of them want to attend riding on tandem bicycles; the dancing classes they attend with great pleasure. Then the discussion slips towards Matei Vișniec and blind characters in his writings.

After the mundane subjects have been exhausted, we go back to the Smart Public Transport topic. The friends explode, all speaking at the same time, sharing their thoughts on how to improve and extend the system.

The group overflows of energy, and Toni confesses that this is an attitude, sometimes imposed, a continuous training, which keeps their state of mind in optimal parameters.

We have to say goodbye, but before leaving, we ask Florin Georgescu how he got the idea for the “Smart Public Transport” project. “You know”, he says, “Lazy people are the ones who always find the best solutions. I have discovered that there are times, for instance at night, when you are in a bus station and there is nobody around. Nobody who can tell you the number of the bus arriving. So I thought I have to solve this problem, for me and for others like me. So, I guess, the answer to your question is out of laziness”, he tells us laughing heartily.

It somehow becomes easier to understand what Bill Gates meant when he declared “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Smart Public Transport is a project carried out by the Tandem Association and financed by the Vodafone Romania Foundation under the Mobile for Good umbrella.

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