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Helping the Planet, One Bus Ticket at a Time

Helping the Planet, One Bus Ticket at a Time

 Our CTO shares some thoughts on Busbud’s mission and what drives him to keep building 6 years later.

 

“Leave this world a little better than you found it.”
– Robert Baden-Powell

We recently celebrated Busbud’s 6th anniversary! And while there was much to raise a glass to (we’re now helping millions of travellers find bus companies in over 60 different countries on over 1M routes, now including routes in Asia and Africa!), it is also a wonderful opportunity to look back and reflect on the journey thus far.

For a friend

Busbud’s story is rooted in friendship and sharing. In early 2011, my good friend and co-founder LP backpacked for several months through South America on an eye-opening journey from the southern tip of Argentina to the mountains of Peru. Throughout these travels, LP had a difficult time finding trusted sources for bus travel information. Online research from his hostels often led him to outdated bus company sites in a foreign language, and in-person experiences at bus stations that could be similarly frustrating, especially as a foreign traveller.

LP came back from this trip with a stack of paper schedules and notes, sharing the challenges he faced to find accurate bus information when travelling. And so we took everything he had collected and made it available online, hoping that it would help others through a similar journey. We just wanted to share this information to make it useful for other travellers. Travellers found this information useful. We started to build the product that LP would have loved having a few months ago for his trip. Soon after, Busbud was born.

For a challenge

It was great to see our project organically attract more and more travellers. As it became apparent there was something interesting here, and that the information was serving a real customer need, I considered that this would be a good time to make the full-time jump to entrepreneurship. With my wife’s support, I left a great job at Microsoft and created a new one with Busbud.

It became clear to LP, Fred and I that we were going to need help. We opened our first positions and started thinking about scaling our supply coverage. It was exciting to see an idea rapidly turn into a prototype and soon into a growing project and team.

Building and growing our team is a responsibility that provides me with a deep satisfaction. As we started to build our team culture, we also made sure we provided ample feedback and recognition for team members. I fondly remember LP telling me over lunch how one team member came to him to tell him how happy he was to come in to the office every morning, settle in, and work on something challenging that he felt passionate about. It’s also been very satisfying to see the personal and professional growth of team members over the years. Such stories have been incredibly motivating for LP, Fred and I.

Orléans Express partners with Busbud
Busbud co-founders: Fred Thouin, LP Maurice and Mike Gradek

For the community

Beyond our day-to-day work making enhancements to keep customer experience at Busbud best in class, we’ve also had the opportunity to make a few contributions to the community.

In the first few years, we’d regularly host local events and meetups at our office, which helped us to connect with the community. We’ve kept up our hospitality this year. Just recently, we hosted our friends at Ladies Learning Code, a Q&A session with coding bootcamp Wagon students, and even a group of teachers and students counsellors from Parcours Techno to demystify working in a tech startup.

Parcours Techno visiting Busbud

Earlier this year, we also launched the Omnibus Project, a new initiative to promote diversity in tech, whether it’s inside Busbud, in our local community, or eventually more globally through our community of millions of travellers worldwide. As a result, we’ve published quarterly reports on our blog listing five concrete actions we are taking each quarter to create a more diverse workplace and world – and hopefully to inspire others to follow suit.

We’ve also helped Busbud become more accessible to all travellers, whether by offering more options to travellers with disabilities or collaborating with a deaf globetrotter to showcase his courage and resilience. Finally, we also tried to be present when disaster hits Florida and Texas earlier this year, by donating to the Red Cross and helping travellers evacuate at-risk regions.

For a global impact

Those that know me well will confirm how much I care about the state of our planet and want to address it in ways big and small. Since co-founding Busbud, my wife and I brought into this world two wonderful, curious, energetic children and I want them to be able to experience our planet in all its glory.

Over the years, I’ve tried a few ways to do my part to help our planet, such as: buying CO2 credits to offset travel emissions, getting solar panels installed on our home, and encouraging others to reuse and recycle. And while it is a satisfying pursuit, my efforts alone won’t curb the impacts of global warming.

However, during last Christmas break, when the Busbud team was enjoying some well-deserved time off with family and friends, I realized that the answer was right there before me. The platform we are building is helping thousands of travellers every day to choose the bus. Why is this relevant?

First, intercity buses are extremely efficient. Using a low amount of resources makes them the most affordable and sustainable mode of motorized transportation. In the past, we’ve supported initiatives like the Smart Move campaign that aim to reduce Co2 emission.

Second, they’re also flexible, meaning they serve way more locations in more communities than any other mode of mass transportation.

Third, they’re cheap and affordable for most travellers around the world. (Actually there are many more reasons we love the bus).

I believe that if we can displace users from fossil fuel based planes, trains and cars to greener modes of collective transportation, like buses, we can extend Busbud’s impact and go even beyond helping travellers: we can leave this world a little better than we found it. And that is very exciting.

Ps. If you want to help us save the world, one bus ticket at a time, join us, we’re hiring!

Mike
Co-founder and CTO of Busbud