Wanderu is a new transport metasearch website that helps travelers find and book inter-city bus and train travel in North Eastern United States.
The site is currently in private beta, but when open to the public, users will be able to type in any address in the Northeast US, find the nearest bus or train station, schedules, and ticket prices. The site then sends users to book directly on travel partner’s websites.
The service is funded by referral fees from the partners.
The one-year-old company says it is the first intercity transport tool to enable travellers to work out the ideal combination of rail or bus transport to get from point-to-point between cities (presumably in the their area).
Wanderu says it has raised an round of funding from prominent angels including the current chairman of Orbitz, Jeff Clarke, and that it is now raising a venture round.
Its advisors include Craig Lentzsch, former CEO of Greyhound and former CEO of Coach America (two of the largest national US bus companies) and Brian Harniman, former VP of Online Marketing for Priceline.
Combining data sets with no provided APIs
CEO Polina Raygorodskaya described her service as ground breaking as "Currently people have to go to countless different provider’s sites to search for travel to a particular destination. If more than one carrier is required to reach a destination, it’s a mess for consumers, people have no way combining the options to get them to where they want to go. We are the first ever ground travel search in the US to connect travellers with any destination around the country with just a single search and like Kayak redirects consumers to book directly on the provider’s checkout page."
Wanderu has secured exclusive partnerships with ground travel providers allowing people to search of schedules and routes and combine multiple providers and forms of transportation. The technology and data sets vary greatly from carrier to carrier and there are no APIs to easily plug-in and collect data from. There are no software intermediaries in the industry like there are in the airline world who licenses their data to consumer facing portals like Kayak, Expedia, etc."
According to Polina "We are solving a problem for consumers and industry that is not being solved by traditional travel sites. We are also creating a technology bridge for an industry that is traditionally not heavily technologically focused."
The compnay hiopes to be open to national searches for bus and rail travel by the end of the year.
Wanderu aims to be the Kayak of intercity rail and bus travel