Usage grew by ‘over 100%’ in Q4 2018 and the booking provider is now also looking at single legs
On-demand scheduled intercity coach specialist Snap has outlined plans to grow its app-based service in 2019 after usage rose by over 100% in Q4 2018.
Snap handles bookings and it contracts operators to run the service. Although it markets itself on low fares, CEO Thomas Ableman says that providers are chosen based solely on their review ratings from previous Snap customers.
“The opportunity is the 900m long-distance leisure journeys that are made each year. We see 126m of them as low-hanging fruit,” he explains.
In particular, the growth in university student numbers is a major traffic generator. “They often see rail travel as too expensive but they currently don’t see coaches as an option. “We are going to change that,” adds Mr Ableman.
From an operator’s perspective, Snap is flexible and it allows them to ‘bid’ on as many or as few trips as they choose.
Currently Snap links London with Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and cities in the Midlands. When speaking at Monday’s CoachMarque conference Mr Ableman hinted that other, non-London routes will be added. Snap expects to be serving 14 cities by the end of 2019.
It currently prices journeys with operators on the basis of a round trip, but it is examining the possibility of offering single-leg journeys to take advantage of coaches that would otherwise undertake empty journeys.
Snap’s pricing model only suits full-size vehicles, despite it having examined the feasibility of using smaller coaches. “We haven’t been able to make the economics of those vehicles work because their running costs are similar to large coaches’,” he says.