Sophomore Starts East Coast Bus Service

By Claire Borecki

This fall break, sophomore Max Perrello is launching his first entrepreneurial venture in the form of Simple Coach, a less-expensive and all-inclusive travel service posed to benefit a large swath of the Colby student population.

“The idea was to make it as simple as possible,” Perrello said, “which is why I called it Simple Coach.”

Perrello initially had the idea during his first year at Colby on a trip back from Portland, ME. After purchasing a ticket for Concord Coach from Portland to Colby, he arrived at the bus terminal to find that the bus did not have enough room, and had to wait for another bus to be arranged. This is a potentially common problem with companies like Concord Coach and Greyhound, as their fine print specifies that the purchase of a ticket does not ensure a seat.

“This made me realize that this was something that could be done a lot better. I could make money and make life easier for other people at the same time,” Perrello said. Although this was his first inspiration, he didn’t begin building this company until he felt motivated by an internal desire to prove peers wrong.

“Some people I knew from high school were talking about issues getting to and from school, and I mentioned offhand that I was thinking I might start a company to run buses to/from my school, and everyone laughed,” says Perrello, “It wasn’t primary motivator, but it was the last straw…I had to prove I wasn’t joking, that this was a viable option.”

Fall break will be the first run of Simple Coach. Tickets are on sale for 60 dollars, and the bus will be going to Boston. “It’s just Boston because it took a while to get fully approved, to the point where NYC was no longer viable for Fall Break,” Perrello said, “I didn’t want to launch early just to have someone in the administration shut it down.”

Before the start of his sophomore year, Perrello established an LLC (which he learned how to do online), did “all the legally required stuff,” Perrello said, and reached out to dozens of charter bus companies to find the best option. Charter bus companies are not like Greyhound or Concord Couch; they employ drivers and buses, and customers can give an itinerary. The company then responds with a quote for the cost of the trip.

Perrello also emailed some administrators at Colby over the summer. “I was initially hoping to come for first-year orientation and set up a table, because I knew it’d be easier to sell to parents who would find comfort in knowing their kids would get home safely,” Perrello said, “but I waited too long and was told there was no room for another table.”

Perrello is marketing his company by advertising several key differences between Simple Coach and companies like Concord Coach; Perrello will never oversell a bus, meaning he guarantees seats to anyone who buys a ticket. Only students will be customers, and the routes can be adjusted based on student needs. “For the New York route, making someone who lives outside of Manhattan drive into the city is unreasonable, so we’d be adding stops like Hartford, Westchester or Newark, at least for Thanksgiving Break,” Perrello said.

Simple Coach will also be adding additional stops outside and within Boston, including South Station. Customers buying tickets will be asked for their zip code and optimal drop-off location, and Simple Coach will do their best to accommodate it.

“The main route was always supposed to be New York,” Perrello said. This comes largely from his own experiences. In his attempts to travel to New York for breaks, he has taken 15 hour Greyhound buses (“next to some random person who isn’t a fellow student”) and taken flights (“Always a hassle with waiting in the airport, and expensive when you add in buses to Portland and Ubers from the bus stop to the airport”). One of the main concepts behind Perrello’s service is that riding the bus with other Colby students would make for a better experience. On the first New York Trip, he hopes to thank his fellow students with a surprise treat, “I’m not 100 percent sure it’ll happen,” he says, “But I’m doing my best.”