Created a little more than a year ago, Skedaddle, which is based in both Boston and New York City, became a start-up celebrity over the past weekend as it booked charter buses that brought more than 11,000 people to the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, Jan.21—the day after the Inauguration of President Donald Trump.
So huge was the bookings surge for Skedaddle — the company had interest from thousands more riders than it booked — that, early in the month, it cut off the number of new routes to Washington. The company said it did not want to run the risk of signing up so many people that it could not serve them all well. As it was, the post-Inaugural march traffic made it the largest ever two-day period of business for the company, which has just 19 people on staff.
How it Works: Loosely resembling the Uber model, Skedaddle has users interested in sharing a bus with others downloading its app. Users can then either create a new route or join an existing route. Once a minimum of nine people have committed to the route, the company arranges the deployment of a professionally driven shuttle, van, or bus. The service also notifies users of routes (and buses filling up) that match their interests.
Each route has a standard seat price which is based on distance and other factors. Skedaddle encourages early route signups by offering the creator of the route a free seat, and a 20 percent discount for the next nine riders to commit. The rest of those who sign up pay the same price.
The company apparently has no trouble finding vehicles, which comes as no surprise to anyone in the tour and travel industry. There are hundreds of bus and van owner-operators across the U.S. whose main business is comprised of schedule charter groups (school groups and school sports teams, etc.) and who have both room and time on their calendar for more business.
It remains to be seen, but the weekend surge in use of the Skedaddle—which began as an East Coast venture, then began operations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, suggests that it will soon have a national route structure. As it is now, routes can be set up as either one-way or round-trip. The percentage of each is likely to change as demand drives availability and the number of routes. For more information, visit www.letsskedaddle.com.