This startup wants to drag bus chartering into the 21st century

Charter bus indonesia auto showRobertus Pudyanto/Getty ImagesA Legacy Sky Bus on display at the Indonesia Motor Show

When car-less urban dwellers decide to venture out of the city for the weekend, travel can get expensive in a hurry. Piecing together spotty public transportation can be cumbersome and unreliable.

Chartering a bus is an option — if you already have a group and don’t mind the time it takes to call bus companies and get quotes from bus lines that still operate largely offline.

Adam Nestler ran into this problem while living and working in Boston. He and a friend combined their startup experience and entrepreneurial spirit to simplify the process of chartering a bus, and introduce pop-up mass transit to the world.

Their company, Skedaddle, began shuttling beach goers to the North Shore from Cambridge, Mass. in late 2014, and launched service from New York City to Fire Island this summer. Now, users anywhere in the country can make custom routes on the website. When 15 people join, the trip is booked completely by the Skedaddle.

Skedaddle, which has an app coming in two months, allows anyone to create a route to the destination of their choice. If 15 people join that route, then Skedaddle handles the tedious process of chartering the bus — one the founder notes is slow and antiquated.

“With Skedaddle, we are tapping already existing infrastructure to simply the travel process,” says CEO and co-founder Adam Nestler. “We want to make it comfortable, affordable and easy.”

Nestler says the service is seeing anywhere from 40 to 50 routes successfully created every two weeks, and that the company has plans to partner with organisations on college campuses, like fraternities and ski-clubs that regularly organise trips.

“At a music festival, you have 40,000 people coming and most of them bringing cars,” said Nestler. Skedaddle wants to help curb that problem, and in a much more simple way.

Uber has been shuttling wealthy festival goers to events such as Bonnaroo and Cannes Film Festival in helicopters as publicity stunts for a while. Skedaddle, however, is much more affordable, with the first five reservations on a route going for just $US5, and the next 10 receiving a sizable discount.

SkedaddleThe Skedaddle team

Skedaddle maintains that its service is safer than Uber too, working only with fully-regulated bus companies and drivers. “It’s not the just average joe driving these buses,” says Nestler.

Currently, Skedaddle operates in New York and Boston, with three employees in each location. Coming soon is a San Francisco outpost and nation-wide service through the app.

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