Case study for Bolt

Objective: Your task is to design an experience that will help integrate Airport Shuttle service into Bolt ride-hailing app.

Inès Mir
7 min readMay 26, 2021
Image from, digitally enhanced to please the reviewers from Bolt

Definition of Airport Shuttle

According to Cambridge Dictionary “shuttle” is a a vehicle or aircraft that travels regularly between two places. Although it seems the business meaning is more broad.

Internet research

On the keywords “airport shuttle” for a variety of locations Google shows the following services:

  1. Pre-Uber taxi services. For instance, Go Airlink Shuttle, Super Shuttle, London Airport Shuttles, etc.
  2. Public transport bus service, like Havabus Istanbul.
  3. Other public transport like trams, trains, subways, etc.

Competitive Analysis

Uber, Lyft and Yandex don’t position their taxi as shuttles, but offer features that help with airport transportation.

  • Scheduled rides
  • Ride reminders
  • Comments to driver
  • Special buggage (ski or bicycle)
  • Drop-off time

Air Passenger Surveys

The 2019 Washington-Baltimore Regional Air Passenger Survey (APS) showed that customer parking has declined at the Washington-Baltimore region’s airports in recent years, with 2019 seeing a significant drop compared to 2017.

In addition Transport Focus survey with Heathrow Airport and the Department for Transport in London shows that people awareness of public transport options are low and the majority of people prefer car or taxi options.

In-Depth Interview

I interviewed 5 people of different ages and social groups on their perspectives on airport transportation.


  1. Women, 30 y.o., product manager. High income. Frequent flyer.
  2. Woman, 24 y.o., housewife. Low income. Has a kid and a dog. Fly once a year or less, often meets mom at the airport.
  3. Man, 56 y.o., businessman. High income. Business trips twice a month.
  4. Man, 41 y.o, psychotherapist. Medium income. Up to 2 long vacations over a year.
  5. Man, 19 y.o., student. Low income. Frequent flyer.


  1. How did you get to and from a local airport last time? What service did you use?
    — Most of the participants choose ride-hailing or car-sharing apps to get to a local airport, but a few preferred a public transport.
    — Some shared, that although they order a taxi on a local market they go for a public transport in a foreign countries, mostly because of network problems at airports.
  2. Why did you choose them?
    — From the respondents who used ride-hailing apps all find the scheduled ride feature highly convenient.
    — The partakers value public transport for the low price.
  3. What other services do you know or use for that purpose?
    All named at least 3 airport transportation options.
  4. What should have changed for you to choose a different service next time?
    —All respondents said they would choose public transport if they are low on budget or travel to airport at a rush hour.
    — A few participants named taxi and car-sharing as a first choice when riding with kids and a lot of baggage.
  5. Can you remember any time an airport transportation went not as expected?
    —Almost all partakers shared the stories when a taxi arrived late or didn’t fit all the baggage.
    —The respondents with kids remembered that a car once came without a child sit.
  6. What do you imagine when you hear “airport shuttle”?
    All respondents named regular bus lines.
  7. If you get to design or choose the ideal service of getting to and from an airport what would that be?
    Those, who have a driver licence, believes that a car-sharing has no cons. Others wished the taxi be more predictable and affordable.


People generally choose between ride-hailing services and public transport based on a budget, traffic and the amount of baggage. In terms of a taxi service, no need in a special product was revealed, but some improvements could be made.

Note that I didn’t discuss the Bolt product with the respondents as it’s not functioning in Moscow. Although in a real research I would do this as the second step of the interview.

Solution 1: Bolt App improvements

Following the research results I would base the solution on an existing ride-hailing app of Bolt. The improvements that the respondents requested, like scheduled ride and special baggage options, are already offered by the competitors and would benefit to other transportation scenarios.


Instead of Bolt and XL I would offer to name this products as Shuttles. To emphasise for users that this is a new feature.

Name changing occur when the airport destination was chosen.

Ride options

Based on users’ requests, competitors’ analysis and pre-Uber car-ordering services I suggest the following features:

  • Scheduled rides
  • Car equipment
  • Special baggage options
  • Estimated drop-off time
  • Comment to driver

Ride options would help to limit taxi choice for users and still cover all the scenarios.



Special baggage

A few respondents shared the concern, that the arrived car wouldn’t fit the baggage. I would address this with special baggage options and comment-to-driver feature.

In case there are a lot of baggage requested the Shuttle XL would be offered.


Evaluation of Solution 1

There are some instruments I would use to prove the solution is worth building:

Guerrilla testing

I would share the wireframes with the colleagues, friends and people on the very early stage, to collect their feedback.

Lab usability testing

If the early feedback is positive I would conduct a usability testing in a controlled environment and test the solution on a beta or detailed prototype. For that purpose I would invite 5–6 people of different age and social groups from the selected location.

If the feedback is rather negative or people don’t see the use of this feature

In this case we could get back to an In-Depth Interview stage to search for more insights from users and validate if the problem exists.


If everything goes as expected on pervious stages we can then launch MVP.

In terms of data collected I would conduct an a/b testing on new users from a one source of traffic to measure if the ordering funnel has improved for all scenarios (as the ride option feature is implemented everywhere).

Separately, I would analyse if the share of users who is ordering airport transportation is increased.

If the funnel and share stays the same

I would suggest to implement this feature anyway as the majority of competitors provide the analogies. Only I would leave out renaming for an airport transportation service and get back to Bolt and XL.

If metics worsen

I would get back to an ideation step and prototype another solutions.

Quantitive Survey

Once we implement the feature and see how people use it we could also run a survey after or during the trip.

From that we could evaluate our qualitative research findings and find for more opportunities for improvement.

Solution 2: Shuttle Bus

From the research stage we learn that people associate «airport shuttle» mostly with bus services. In addition to that Transport Focus survey shows that people awareness of shuttle options for getting to an airport is low, once they try it for the first time they have a positive experience that is better than expected. That’s why I suggest a bus service as a alternative option for Bolt.

The bus can be an option for people traveling with low budget or with little baggage.


Price aside, I think the huge benefit for users of a shuttle bus can be the predictability. There are always 2 airport transfers involved in every trip: a local airport and airport of an arrival. So a traveler have to figure airport transportation at least twice.

The ability to use the same ticket, pre-ordered from the same app would be the huge relief!

Brand impact

I also believe the network of shuttles can benefit to Bolt brand for travellers. As when a traveler arrives at an unfamiliar airport they can spot the Bolt bus and immediately realise this is the country where Bolt services is available.

The features the company should consider for MVP are following:

  1. Buying tickets in the app
  2. 24-hour ticket and on-site tickets
  3. Refunds and reschedule
  4. QR code readers
  5. Round trip
The example of QR code scanner in bus.

Evaluation of Solution 2

As the business model is new to Bolt and somehow exceeds a product designer competence, let’s imagine that a business model and marketing research had been done and the company believes in product. So, the only evaluation left is for design decisions.

For that basically repeat the evaluation stages from Solution 1 with some modifications.

  1. Guerrilla testing of wireframes
  2. Lab usability testing on a detailed prototype
  3. Soft launch on one market

If the benefit of the model is lower than expected, but stakeholders are sure of the model nevertheless, we could conduct contextual inquiry research to get for more insights from users and prototype different solutions.

Thank you for your time,



Inès Mir

Principal product designer at Zalando and Instagram influencer @ines.ux