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On the job

Trip connection app aims to put ‘cool’ in bus travel

Wanderu operates out of Boston.
Wanderu operates out of Boston.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
Wanderu cofounder Polina Raygorodskaya said she was looking for a stress-free travel booking site.
Wanderu cofounder Polina Raygorodskaya said she was looking for a stress-free travel booking site.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Bus travel continues to attract a new generation of travelers, but booking an intercity trip could be difficult. A fragmented, low-tech marketplace meant that travelers had to visit multiple sites to locate the cheapest fares and find connections. But with Boston-based Wanderu, said cofounder Polina Raygorodskaya, bus and train schedules are aggregated — helping to boost the “cool” factor of taking the bus. She spoke to Globe correspondent Cindy Atoji Keene about creating a kayak.com-type search engine for buses.

“The bus industry has experienced a true ‘disruption.’ The value proposition for commuters, students, and budget-minded travelers is the bus is convenient, cheap, last-minute travel — and it has Wi-Fi and power stations. While many new bus riders are tech-savvy, most bus companies are still just selling tickets at the counter. There is a huge disconnect here.

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“I became obsessed with building a stress-free travel booking site. Type in any address, city, or point of interest — the White House, your mother’s condo — and Wanderu will find the closest bus station, route multiple providers together, and integrate transit directions. We have partnered with the biggest bus lines, including Greyhound, Megabus, Peter Pan. We have a mobile app in the works that I tested myself on a recent bus ride.

“I take the bus all the time between Boston and New York. I love the four hours of uninterrupted work time. I plug in my computer and all the distractions disappear.”


Cindy Atoji Keene can be reached at cindy@cindyatoji.com.