Spotlight on Shawn Basak from MIT

Who’s Shawn?

Shawn is an MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management who is also the Student Body President and a Teaching Assistant for a popular operations strategy course.

He’s been involved with the planning of logistics around events, including orientation trips for new students, an overnight trip in Maine, and a field visit to a major retailer as part of an operations course curriculum.

The Event: Class Field Trip

Occasionally, Shawn’s professor brings in industry leaders to speak to their operations class about their company. The students had the founder of Costco come in to give a guest lecture and conduct a Q&A session. As part of the experience, their professor took everyone on a field trip to one of Costco’s local stores to tour the place, meet employees, and see Costco’s operations in action.

As a result, Shawn was given a 1 week notice to plan transportation for 50 people heading to a suburb of Boston located a 20-minute drive away.

Organizing Bus Trips: The Old Way

Planning a bus trip was a miserable experience.

Shawn had to do his own research, and resort to random companies which he found through Google. Most of the time, he wasn’t even sure that these bus companies existed due to their lackluster websites. On top of that, he found the whole contracting and payment process archaic.

Organization quickly became messy, and the whole experience needed to be streamlined. Filling out PDF forms and faxing them back for contracts became quite an ordeal. He felt that the companies he worked with didn’t care about his needs. For instance, his group made a full deposit for a 56-person bus, but ended up with a bus seating only 55 people despite repeatedly requesting a specific seating arrangement. As a result, confidence was tainted. His worries then grew as far as to wonder if the bus was even going to show up or not on the day of the trip.

How Measures Up

With accumulated frustrations, Shawn set out to find a better way.

He first came across through a recent TechCrunch article.* Initiating and completing the booking process on his own, Shawn took 2 minutes to secure his bus reservation and to make appropriate payments:

Making that process easier was such a relief for me. I couldn’t believe it took two minutes for me to make a reservation, and get payment done for the school bus trip. The school bus was there early, the driver was really good, and it was such a painless experience relative to the alternatives that I was used to.
– Shawn Basak

Making Bus Travel Organization Easier

Each event organizer has their own unique needs and pain points. Shawn’s happen to be:

1. Arranging transportation without hassle

2. Getting to where he needs to be as efficiently as possible

3. Splitting costs and collecting payments amongst riders

Here’s how we helped him address those issues:

Simple booking process

Shawn described his experience with us as incredibly easy. To arrange his whole booking, he only needed to go to our website, make his reservation, and voilà, he instantly received a price for his bus trip. After that, getting approval for payment from the faculty and his professor only required sending them a simple link to his quote page.

Cutting down on vehicles

Initially, they thought about everyone carpooling but that wouldn’t work: there wasn’t a lot of parking available, and the whole situation would’ve been a huge hassle. By booking a bus, they were all able to get there in one vehicle instead of having a bunch of cars drive down.

Pay-per-seat option

It was a pain for Shawn to collect payments from people during the orientation trip in August, and then to have to pay the bus after that. He really likes our pay-per-seat feature because it eliminates the need for one person to gather money from everyone. Instead, it allows organizers to split the bill equally amongst all passengers, showing every person exactly what they need to pay.

Shawn provided us with valuable insight, and we take all of our customers’ feedback seriously. This is why we’ve also been working on technology to make the booking process even easier and improve the bus experience for all parties involved: event organizers, passengers, and bus drivers!

* This event happened prior to our rebrand, so we were still called Sharethebus back then.