On-demand bus operator Snap to resume services

Links from Bristol and Nottingham to London priced from £5 one way

Snap: is this innovative coach service the future of travel?

The innovative inter-city bus operator, Snap, is to resume services later this month.

The firm, which runs “demand-driven” inter-city buses, launched services in October 2016 but “paused” operations in June 2019 to seek fresh funding.

It has now announced that links from London to Bristol and Nottingham will resume on 27 September – coincidentally the date of the next British Airways pilots’ strike.

Tickets are on sale starting at £5 one-way from five pick-up points in Bristol to Baker Street and St Pancras stations in London, and from five locations in Nottingham to a series of stops in the capital – ending on the edge of Covent Garden.

The Snap concept is different from the model of the giant rivals, Megabus and National Express. It involves aggregating demand from passengers and running services only when they are viable.

Coaches are provided by local operators, typically during quiet spells between contract obligations.

The business model is changing so that operators will take the financial risk of each trip, with Snap acting purely as a platform. The revenue share that Snap takes will depend on customer feedback: the higher the satisfaction, the lower the cut the company takes.

Thomas Ableman, founder of Snap, said: “Some people undoubtedly thought, when Snap paused, that we had folded. However, as we said at the time, we took a responsible decision to protect the interests of our customers and operators.

“Many firms in the travel sector keep running trips even while the bank balance depletes, and then end up leaving customers stranded and operators out of pocket.

“That is not the Snap approach and never will be.”

The firm has carried more than 220,000 passengers more than 25 million miles.

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