You’ve been there, we’ve been there, it’s legendary – 5pm leaving the town centre stuck in traffic. To help solve Bristol’s congestion problem, Slide – a new shared travel-to-work service has launched a free app where you can book a professional driver to pick you up in just a few clicks.

Simply download the app, put in your home and work address and the time you want to travel and that’s it! You get picked up in a brand-new Slide minibus that will be chauffeur you from place to place. Using a series of algorithms each Slide carries up to eight passengers travelling on a similar route. At half the price and a guaranteed seat, Slide satisfies the eco-conscious, cash-conscious, and weather-conscious.

“We’re a little like a bus and a taxi rolled into one but with all the best bits!”

 

Coralie and Roddy from Slide at TechSpark_meetup (1)TechSPARK spoke to Coralie Triadou (pictured left at the TechSPARK summer social), business development director at Slide, who explains, “We’re a little like a bus and a taxi rolled into one but with all the best bits! Unlike other carpool platforms, we provide the driver and the vehicle so there’s none of the hassle normally involved.

“Slide is booked in advance so the cost is fixed and upfront no matter how many riders are on board or how great the demand is: from Filton to Cabot Circus, for example, costs £5. Our technology also guarantees that your journey won’t be affected by other passengers by more than 15 minutes.”

“Bristol was an ideal location to launch Slide because the city is so open to innovation”

 

The Slide team are based in Bristol at co-working hub DeskLodge and when they’re not honing the Slide service they can frequently be found sampling the local food markets, although this isn’t the main reason for setting up shop in the South West. As Coralie reveals, “Cider, big balloons, Wallace & Gromit… need we say more? Truthfully we really felt that Bristol was an ideal location to launch Slide because the city is so open to innovation. It’s a great place to reach an early adopter market, being the biggest tech hub outside of London.”

Slide team promoting app in BristolSlide aims to give both car drivers and bus passengers a much more stress-free experience when travelling to work. Coralie adds, “With so many people travelling in the same direction from residential areas that don’t have easy access to existing public transport, it makes sense to use 21st-century technology to group these journeys intelligently.”

App algorithms

Slide is an innovation project by global transport operator, RATP Dev – the world’s 5th largest public transport company. They partnered with Padam, a French startup which has developed algorithms that can optimise a fleet of vehicles circulating an area at any given time to service the demand.

“Slide is an innovative approach to travel; making the best use of technology and comfortable vehicles to improve your daily commute”

 

Relying on its knowledge of commuters, Padam provides Slide with its intuitive mobile app and ongoing technical support. Coralie says, “Slide is an innovative approach to travel; making the best use of technology and comfortable vehicles to improve your daily commute. From our research we felt confident that developing a new service with their app and our transport expertise would be welcomed in a city like Bristol.”

Bristol residents catching a Slide minivanThe app suggests a meeting point, and calculates in real time the optimal itinerary for the minibus to get to the specified destination, while integrating requests from other passengers that also want to travel in the same direction. Prices are agreed on ahead of time and are based on the direct distance from the starting point to the destination.

Since launch, the team have been watching the feedback to see the reception from the great Bristol public, including getting their first rave review! Coralie says, “We know it’s a tough market for app-based businesses, especially with PokémonGO to compete with, but we’ve had great support from the community. We were really pleased to get a glowing review of our service and the good feedback keeps on coming.”

Bristol, buses, and brand

With a great tag line, ‘Slide to work’ and the minivans that can be seen zipping around with the turquoise circle logo, the Bristol dept headed up by Coralie only launched after doing their market research, “We did our homework: parking is quite limited in the commerce zones and many people have to change buses to get across town. There’s also a big push for sustainability and to reduce single car occupancy.”

“Slide is a very flexible, growing enterprise and we welcome any opportunity to talk tech”

 

Slide minivan in CliftonWith the goal to provide a hassle-free alternative form of transport, they have decided to focus on serving Bristol’s commuter market to begin with, but looking to the future Slide will be taking the service where the community wants it most. “The amazing tech community in this part of the country is one of the reasons we moved here. We’ve attended several tech meetups and brainstorms to talk about Slide Bristol and we’ve had some brilliant feedback and advice. Slide is a very flexible, growing enterprise and we welcome any opportunity to talk tech and make sure that the businesses is the best it can be.”

For the moment their next steps are really dependent on where they see demand, “Over the last few months we’ve spoken to people from all corners of Bristol and it’s given us some really great insights into where people would like to see the service run. Now we’re fully on the road, we’re concentrating on making the service spot on before we look to expand.”

So if you would like to ‘Slide to work’, download the free app from the app store. You can find more information on their website and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter and get the latest service updates on Facebook.

Natasha Baer