Ever wanted know the best way to get from point A to point B? rome2rio, headed by two ex-Microsoft engineers, is a search engine that attempts to do exactly that. Like an international Zoombu.co.uk or FromAtoB.com, the search is basically Google Maps with an added layer of multi-modal travel options.
“The airport to airport thing has been solved really well by Kayak and Hipmunk, so we want to do the other end like from the airport to where you want to go. Because no one goes on holiday at an airport,” says founder Michael Cameron.
Users can enter their starting point and destination in rome2rio’s map-based UI, and rome2rio searches through flights, ferries, trains and driving routes to show you your transportation options for every leg of your trip.
For example for a trip from San Francisco, CA to Athens, Greece, rome2rio has presented me with the drive from my house to SFO (13.1 miles), a flight directly to Athens airport, and then a drive directly from the airport into Athens (42.9 kilometers) for $926. It also gives me the option of going through the airport in Thessaloniki and then taking a train to Athens for $1,078 dollars.
Searches on rome2rio like that from Budapest, Hungary to Antwerp, Belgium provide you with a massive graph of all the different routes, and you can hover your mouse over the options and see specific airline flights before you even enter a date. Once you put in a date, rome2rio crawls Kayak to find prices for 670 airlines around the world and as well as train options for Europe, China and India currently.
Founders Michael Cameron and Bernie Tschirren tell me that this service was inspired by the European plane versus train dilemma, and a crop of startups searching across multiple modes of travel have popped out of Europe. Oftentimes taking a plane versus a train there can mean a difference of hundreds of dollars. For example a search for Quebec City to Brussels on Orbitz provides you with airport to airport multihop flights that are over a $1000, Rome2rio suggests that you fly to Paris and then take the train, the total trip costing around $400.
Cameron and Tschirren plan on monetizing the service through commissions from flight sales, and like Hipmunk, want to avoid ads. They’re also planning on increasing their coverage area to ground transport and trains in the US and want to provide more options like taxi services rates if you’d like to get a taxi from the airport. A version of the site for disaster events that impede travel, like the 2010 volcano eruption in Iceland, is also in the works, “We’ve got the data to be able to get you out of there … but we also have to wait for a disaster to happen.”
rome2rio is currently bootstrapped.