On-demand intercity coach service Sn-ap has started offering travel between Bristol and London.
The service matches passengers with independent coach companies and keeps the cost of tickets down by only running the journey when there is sufficient interest.
Sn-ap, which launched in 2016 with services between Nottingham and London, is backed by Bristol-based Kindred Capital – a firm also behind driverless car start-up Five AI. It has since added routes between Derby and London.
Passengers book online, choosing from existing confirmed trips or creating their own custom trips and sharing them with family and friends.
After each trip, passengers are asked to rate the service, which Sn-ap says keeps the standards of the operators it works with high.
Founder Thomas Ableman said: “Problem #1 with transport is a severe lack of choice, which leads to high fares, inflexible timetables and poor service. I could see rising demand, yet intercity travel is exactly like it was 30 years ago.
“Most people don’t realise that the coaches they get through the big, national brands aren’t typical. There are thousands of fantastically high quality coaches owned by independents that are frozen out of intercity routes by the established multinationals. We can use technology to change this.”
“Coach is the ideal for intercity: environmentally sound, cost-effective and flexible. We pick-up at convenient locations, rather than fixed stations people don’t want to go to. The best independent operators are family-owned businesses that serve football teams, corporate clients and international tours.
“Coach is the ideal intercity travel solution: It’s environmentally sound and cost-effective to run. We can pick-up and drop-off at a variety of flexible locations, rather than taking you to a fixed terminus, you don’t want to go to and – thanks to new technology – you can manage the whole experience on your mobile phone.”
In 2017, the company raised £2 million.
Leila Zegna, of Kindred Capital, said: “The contrast between transportation offerings within cities vs. between cities is stark – intracity transport has been revolutionized in recent years by entrants like bike sharing, Zipcar, Uber, Gett Taxi and others, whereas intercity transport has remained relatively untouched by digital disruption. Therein lies Sn-ap’s opportunity to enable the millions of people making journeys between cities to access today’s underutilized private hire coaches. Sn-ap’s unique leadership team brings a depth of domain expertise and proven execution capability to this exciting market opportunity”.
Tim Pow, managing director of Berkeley Coach and Travel, added: “Innovative tech platforms like Sn-ap are giving small, top quality firms like us a chance to compete with much bigger players in the intercity travel market. That’s good news for us and great news for customers, who get more choice, better quality and great value.”
“We’ve had great feedback from everyone locally, since we announced we’ll be running regularly between Bristol and London”, added Sn-ap sales and marketing director Christy Stewart-Smith.
As an introductory offer, Sn-ap is offering passengers free travel between Bristol and London.