Helping you stand out from the crowd
“My ‘lightbulb’ moment came when I was wedged into someone’s armpit. Now I want to help other people avoid this and get back to work safely...”. A commuter left frustrated at constantly having to travel on crowded trains has invented an app to help people move around more safely.
Dash Tabor’s ‘lightbulb moment’ came when she was spending yet another morning-journey with her face wedged into a stranger’s armpit.
“I thought there has to be another way,” Dash said. “I thought, In the 21st Century we must be able to make it easier for people to move around and stand back from the crowd.”
Enter TUBR, a new app, which Dash has now invented that does exactly that.
Using technology and algorithms the free to download app is already helping Londoners returning to offices following more than a year of homeworking. Hundreds of people commuting in the Capital are now using TUBR. And plans are underway to expand it to other cities including Manchester.
This plan for growth comes after research conducted by TUBR which saw train users admit to feeling 'very anxious' about returning to public transport after more than a year of homeworking. Just 10% said they felt 'relaxed' about the issue.
For Dash, 34, helping them feel more confident has become her primary aim.
Dash was educated at the University of South Carolina, USA but moved to London to study for a Masters at Kingston University in City Planning and Sustainable development.
It was during her time working in the Capital that she worked for businesses including Experian, Streetbees, the REaD group and Sainsburys and experienced, first hand, the frustration of crowded London Tubes.
“I dreaded my morning commute,” Dash said. “For years I'd cram on the Northern Line with everyone else just hoping I could get a bit of the aisle where I was less likely to end up with a stranger's armpit in my face.”
Dash started paying attention to what time she'd leave the house and realised that a mere minute made a huge impact on the experience I had on the Tube.
She added: “It sparked a question: Why wasn't data solving this problem for me? Why wasn't there an app telling me how to travel to get the best experience for me?”
Dash started asking around. She conducted surveys. And the results indicated she wasn't the only one who wanted this problem solved.
Working with Nikhil Kanta Tubr’s Chief Technical officer and Kelly Pollard, Tubr’s Chief Customer Officer the trio set about solving the problem.
“We realised early on that access to the data we needed to solve the issue of crowding was non-existent so we started tackling the problem. Crowding on a public transport system presents a unique challenge because the flow of data can be inconsistent and sparse over a period of time. We set out to solve this problem as part of our solution.”
Explaining her passion for the app she continued: “I am passionate because I am the user. I am able to build something that can fundamentally change the way we move around cities for the better. We can optimise every minute and fall back in love with the public transport systems that we can't live without. We can enjoy our commute and overcrowding can really be avoided.”
Dash has had to sacrifice a lot of time, energy and savings into the business.
"We're a little bootstrapped and have only raised through friends and family thus far."
"The disadvantages are that it means we can’t grow as quickly as we may wish. But on the plus side I have a team who allow me to really innovate to solve the problem. We've built a really unique technical solution to solve the problem that so many haven't tackled yet. And the best part is the technology can be applied to other areas. I have invested most of my savings but the biggest sacrifice has probably been the amount of time needed to drive success to a bootstrapped business. Thankfully I have a very supportive partner who keeps me fed and energised.”
Dash is one of a rising number of entrepreneurs to launch a business during the pandemic. A staggering 835,000 new businesses were born last year - up 40% on the number in 2019. But despite the challenges the pandemic has thrown up, Dash is also quick to note the advantages.
She said: “In some ways the world being remote has been a really positive thing for me. I can reach a lot more people and need less time to travel. In other ways I've found things to be very direct and to the point which saves time but can also mean less bonding in normal relationship-building ways. TUBR, in some ways, might have been my shining light through this whole thing.”
Explaining her aims for the short, mid and long-term, Dash concluded: “We want to grow fast and smart, expand to other areas where we've seen demand and transform the way we think about planning our daily travel. We're already looking at new cities, including Manchester. Long term we see ourselves as a tech company that builds insightful solutions for the world's 'smaller' data problems. We want the app to be your travel assistant for giving you control over the experience you want to have. Right now we provide crowding predictions. But as we develop we'll offer individualised suggestions for when to travel in order to get the experience you most desire.”
How It Works
TUBR uses technology and algorithms which provide the most up to date information on footfall at London tube stations.
All users need to do is download the FREE app which is available on both the App and Play Stores. TUBR will then help plan your journey in the smartest way.