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Rally is bus rideshare: applying automation to create demand-based trips with motorcoaches and high occupancy vehicles.

Photo of Siheun Song
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Rally offers event day transportation through partnering with local motorcoach operators and event organizations to alleviate community relations, DUI issues, and increasing mobility options for the Michigan Central Station Impact area. It modernizes bus rideshare by making booking, tracking, and riding simple through smartphone apps and intuitive booking website. Rather than increasing transportation through increasing fixed route services, Rally offers pop-up mass transit so that groups can join other riders going to the same event, venue, shopping center, or workplace on-demand. Rally proposes to apply its event based transportation model to a different kind of event. We seek to redefine or expand the definition of "event" to include a workday commute. By working with local motorcoach operators, Rally has provided hundreds of thousands of rides to sporting events, music festivals, concerts, political rallies, college holiday break transportation, and other "events." For this opportunity area, Rally proposes working with local businesses in the Impact Area to create pop-up mass transit options to help workers commute to their workplace with the capacity and scale of a motorcoach rather than small cars and vans. Employees and employers can aggregate demand for commuting needs for workers without cars or far away from reliable public transit stops and create commuting routes that reduce cost, traffic, and increases transportation capacity for residents, visitors, and workers in and to the Impact Area.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Event-goers to Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, and DTE Energy Music Theatre can use Rally to get to their destination. Sporting events, concerts and large events usually occur on weekends, when mass transit operates on a reduced or zero capacity. Rally creates pop-up bus stops with local businesses such as bars, restaurants, hotels, and other retail locations so residents and visitors can be picked up near their lodging in their neighborhood. Suppose that there is Lions game this upcoming Sunday. Riders can search for the game on Rally's website, book a seat on a route departing from several locations or propose a stop and departure time. Rally utilizes smart algorithms and user feedback to aggregate demand, working with local bus operators to create event-day transportation. Using the same tech, Rally partners with employers to create low cost commuting routes for workers at office parks, warehouses, and factories without access to cars or nearby mass transit stops.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario
  • Ready to Scale - you have completed and expanded your pilot and are seeing adoption of your solution by your intended user

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Rally has provided more than 200,000 rides since its founding. We have recently begun piloting a few projects that expand the Rally technology in a few cities around the world.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

President Siheun Song is a graduate of Columbia, Yale, and a seasoned Financial Consultant. CEO Numaan Akram attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for Computer Science. He is a systems architect by trade, and was raised an entrepreneur. After they met, they combined tech, creative, and sales savvy to scale Rally. A cohort at Yale Entrepreneurial Institute and Techstars Mobility, Rally's seed lead investor is Daimler/Mercedes-Benz.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $50,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

We would use the funding to apply the event bus rideshare model for workers living in the impact area commuting to office parks, warehouses, and factories in the Detroit metro area. We recently signed an M.O.U. with a local Michigan motorcoach operator to use Rally's platform to modernize their bookings, operations and customer support. We will test pilot commute routes for Michigan Central Station residents and businesses, and roll out more "events" based trips for residents and tourists.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Rally will spend the 6 month pilot period by first adapting our event rideshare business model to sporting events, concerts, college sports and break shuttles for the Detroit local market. We have had great success by partnering with local businesses in Wisconsin and upstate New York to provide game-day shuttles to Packers and Bills games. Riders congregate at local business such as bars, restaurants, and hotels to board the shuttle. In turn, Rally generates foot traffic and customers for the local businesses on game day. Partners and Rally work together to promote this event shuttle service. This year, we have expanded the definition of "event" by partnering with local motorcoach companies to provide holiday break shuttles for University of Maryland, Penn State University, Syracuse University, University of Pittsburgh, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. We hope to expand this service for Michigan State and Wayne State students.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Success for the pilot will be measured by how many riders utilize our services to attend events, go to work, and get to and from locations not serviced by mass transit options. As this would be our first deployment of commuter rideshare services in Detroit, we would use this as a case study for the feasibility of launching further commuter routes using the Rally platform for other employers and workers. In particular, we are interested in developing a funding model for commuter routes that adapts our crowdfunded approach to be affordable for workers and companies that facilitate the trips.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Yesterday, Rally was announced a 43 North competition winner and receives $500,000 from New York State to scale our platform. Between strong revenue and our investment rounds, we are optimistic that we have sufficient runway to continue to service the Michigan Central Station area long after the initial pilot.

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1 comment

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Photo of Mackenzie Fankell

Siheun Song  Thank you for sharing this proposal! Congratulations on the success of this business. It sounds like you have created a great solution to transportation to large events as well as workday commutes. Generally, how many passengers do you need for one event or location to offer your services for this particular event?