TDM TAKEAWAYPartnering with large events on sustainable transportation can make the experience more enjoyable for everybody.
Music festivals are social events, so why not extend that experience to include a fun trip to and from the sites?
RYDE, founded by Brian Allman and business partners Bob Aube and Paul Misso, sells individual seats on large luxury buses for a fee much lower than the prohibitive cost of renting a whole bus.
The real niche for the company is distance travel, bringing concertgoers from 10 miles away or farther. The company is even willing to provide buses that travel up to six hours if the demand is there.
To determine likely pockets of demand, RYDE works with event promoters to find out where most tickets are being sold. Then the event sends out an email blast advertising the bus service, noting the various routes being offered. The routes begin at a centralized place, such as a park-and-ride or large lot, and then drives straight to the concert entrance.
The cost runs anywhere from $35 to $129 roundtrip based on distance and whether the driver has to stay overnight. The one caveat, however, is that the bus only travels if a certain number of seats are sold – known as the “crowd-tilt” factor. It’s a risk, Allman explained, but the environmental and logistical benefits really aren’t there unless you have 20 to 30 people riding.
The buses aren’t owned by RYDE but are used in partnerships with trusted bus companies. Aube’s decades of experience working for a bus-operating company is what really has helped the company succeed so far, Allman said.
Since launching in October 2014, RYDE has created partnerships with more than 35 different music festivals, including Mumford and Sons’ Stopover Tour, Backwoods Music Fest, and the Jersey Shore Music Fest.
While the current focus is music festivals, RYDE has also worked with sporting events – like Professional Golf Association events including the Zurich Classic in New Orleans and the Wells Fargo championship in Charlotte – and is looking to branch out.
Public safety is an important issue for RYDE, Allman said. For the Snow Globe Music Festival in Lake Tahoe in December, seven buses filled in San Francisco, eliminating the need for countless cars to drive up some difficult climbs. Allman added that the “designated-driver” aspect allows festival attendees to have fun without worrying about how they’re going to get home.
Many festival sites are smaller towns that go from 7,000 to 70,000 people during multi-day events, and Allman said, “That’s a lot of environmental impact. For every bus we send, we take 20 to 25 vehicles off the road. We’re giving [festival organizers] a nice talking point.”
In the past two months, RYDE has hired a chief software architect to create an app to go along with the company’s web interface. The goal is to have a fully mobile, integrated platform by early June, Allman said. The company is also developing games that riders can play on the bus to connect with their fellow concertgoers.
“We’re trying to create a nice socialization that continues the event,” Allman said.
Photo by Jared Polin