The GroupRail web-app was launched by PaysToBeSocial Ltd, the aptly named London-based start up. PaysToBeSocial, led by Edward Byrne, with Sebastian de Groot van Embden and Alexander Schultz, began two years ago as a way to encourage face-to-face social networking and crowd buying.
The GroupRail concept was initially a way to get people over 26, who are no longer eligible for young person railcards, to group together on train routes and try saving through group discounts. As it has grew over the year, the focus widened to connect people with the same interests in order to meet up and socialise as well as trying to save on their last-minute train travel.
GroupRail started as an iOS app but transitioned into a larger web app (aided with new Angel investment), to maximise the amount of groups a user can connect with, using any device and making it as flexible, mobile and last-minute as possible. Users can think of GroupRail as ‘GroupOn meets Tinder,’ or similarly Uber-pool, for trains.
Unsurprisingly, saving is extremely sought after when it comes to rail fares as they continue to increase year on year. Young professionals who are not able to get railcards or search in advance will likely be stung by prices, so by grouping up with others in their professions or with the same interests they could save up to one third off their fares even on the day of travel. Surprisingly, according to PaysToBeSocial research, students are still a large and likely user-base for the platform. Only around 54% have young person railcards, therefore GroupRails two-value approach (socialising and saving) is very appealing to this younger demographic who don’t have railcards.
The team behind GroupRail plan to slowly expand their user base in specific UK cities in order to increase the number of groups who have made savings, whilst building valuable first-party rail data and continue to grow the social community. Alexander Schultz, Strategy and Marketing at PaysToBeSocial says, “As we grow our community the data will allow us to get smarter and more efficient at matching groups so our users can benefit even more. It is a very exciting time for the business and platform, we have big plans to launch further social discounting platforms by the end of 2017.”