While Keenya Justice was in law school in the late ’90s, she began setting up job interviews with government agencies in Washington D.C. She had to decide between taking the train from North Carolina to D.C. in the wee hours of the morning or spending several hours driving, thereby losing precious study time.
She thought, wouldn’t it be nice to study while someone else drove?
20 years later, Justice realized this transportation challenge still hasn’t been solved. She wanted to provide business professionals with “more open laptop time,” during their work travel. But even on the company’s dime, most professionals can’t afford a private driver.
Justice and her technical business partner Renato Cabral built a ridesharing app that fills the gap that traditional ride hailing doesn’t service — city-to-city business trips of up to 250 miles.
Intercity focuses “on those distances that are too long to drive and too short to fly,” says CEO Justice. “If you choose to take the train and do some work, you have to take the train at inconvenient times to arrive on time.”
The user chooses from pre-selected routes, along with a pickup and return time. The ride is shared with other professionals to lower the cost, and larger vehicles can be booked for groups.
Once booked, a vetted driver picks you up and you can set up your workstation in the car. The black cars feature laptop charges, wifi hotspots, bottled water, and other amenities.
Intercity’s driver force comes from partnerships with local transportation companies, which can acquire extra revenue by booking idle black cars at a more affordable rate to multiple people.
Right now, the driver picks up passengers at designated spots. If needed, however, the passenger can also request and schedule a custom route through the app.
With Intercity, an hours-long road trip provides 100 percent of open laptop time versus 20 percent when flying, door-to-door.
“When you think about how long it takes you to go from your house to the airport, through security, and finally arriving to your destination, you’ve got a lot of downtime,” says Justice. “With us, you can start working right away.”
The startup receives a percentage of each booked seat per trip.
They’ve remained self-funded to this point and have been accepted into the NC IDEA incubator to scale the product and ramp up customer acquisition through digital marketing. They’re not seeking outside capital at this time.
Intercity just finished private beta testing and went live this month. Currently they’re operating out of Charlotte with 10 destinations to choose from including Atlanta, Raleigh, and more. Next month, they launch Raleigh with more on the horizon.