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Photo credit: GoOpti

At the end of September, the news from Slovenia hit international media outlets about Slovenian airline Adria Airways, owned by German investment firm 4K invest, filing for bankruptcy and cancelling all flights. Since the planes by Adria have been grounded, there has been a severe disruption in the international travels to the Central European country of Slovenia. The government of Slovenia is trying to figure out a solution, in the meantime there are a few alternatives provided for those arriving to or departing from Ljubljana. The alternatives are possible from crossborder regional airports and nearby cities well connected with regular direct road transfers like shuttles. GoOpti company provides innovative matching of passengers for shared and private transfers between airports and remote towns and cities.

We talked to Marko Guček, CEO of Go-Opti, what options and solutions does the company provide for arrivals and departures to Ljubljana.

Q: Which cities (and countries) does GoOpti drive to?

GoOpti operates in 25 cities in Slovenia, Croatia and Northern Italy. We are connecting these cities with all the airports in the region within the radius of 500 km. For example, we connect the city of Ljubljana with the airports in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Trieste, Venice, Graz, Pula, Rijeka, Vienna, Bergamo, Bologna and even Malpensa.

Q: Which cities are since Adria’s bankruptcy the most popular for flying towards and from Slovenia?

A lot of passengers still fly from Ljubljana Airport using other airline services, however Zagreb, Trieste, Venice, Graz and Vienna are the most popular in the region.

Q: How much increase in service have you noticed since Adria’s bankruptcy?

In October we already see a 27% increase of passengers, which means that locals who now need to travel to further airports, prefer our dynamic shuttle service over their personal car, which was their main mean of transport to Ljubljana Airport.

Q: Why, do you think, GoOpti is a good option for travelers?

I think GoOpti is a great option, because we give approximately the comfort of a taxi for the cost of a bus. We pick up and drop off our passengers directly at home or at their hotel address at any desired time, which is ideal when you have to catch a flight. For lowest prices passenger need to be a bit more flexible about the pickup / drop-off time, but we always optimize the transfer so that it is as close to the desired time as possible. Needless to say, we always make sure that the passenger is not late to their flight.

When searching for a flight to Slovenia it is best to use metasearch engines that allow searching through multiple cities

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Photo credit: GoOpti

Q: What do passengers need to be aware of when ordering your company’s ride?

We have private and shared services. Private is usually cheaper than a taxi because we always make sure that we have our van filled in both directions with at least one passenger. In that way, there are no empty routes, kilometers and empty emissions for the transport company. A shared transfer can be booked at a fixed departure time, so it’s similar to a taxi, just that the duration could be a bit longer due to a few more stops on the way to collect other passengers. If booking a flexible departure shared service, it is important not to be in a hurry and acknowledge the possibility that one might need to adapt the departure time to other passengers. Even in this case, we always optimize our transfers so that each passenger gets to be transported as close to his desired time as possible. The final departure times are always set one day before the transfer, and are communicated by sms and email. Hence, even the flexible passenger will be able to plan his day around; instead of waiting for the van to show up, he can go shopping, to a restaurant, get some rest, etc.

Q: Where do your drivers pick up the passengers and where to they drop them off?

At each airport we have designated locations, which are communicated in the booking confirmation and also by sms/email sent one day and then again one hour before the transfer. Otherwise, passengers can choose the desired pickup/drop-off location, be it at home, at their office or a major public place in the city.

Q: Your transfers are provided 24/7. What if, for example, the passsenger’s flight that is supposed to arrive to Venice’s airport at 11pm, is severely delayed. How does the passenger in the middle of the night get to Ljubljana then?

Between Ljubljana and Venice we have over 30 rides per day, so usually there are some seats available in later vehicles. But this is not always the case, so to be sure, we have an option called Absolutely No Worries package, which is a small surcharge which is very important for most customers. With this additional package we send a new vehicle or pay for a taxi if there’s no availability in our booked tranfers. We also buy a new flight ticket to the final destination in rare occasions of force majeure like unforeseen traffic jams.

Sometimes the most costwise and timewise option is to fly to one airport and then fly back from another, which is called an open-jaw flight. Since GoOpti offers connections to all the airports in the region there’s no need to return to the same one.

Q: And what if the GoOpti’s van breaks down on the highway in Hungary, for example, how do the passengers get to Budapest Airport on time?

In this case it’s GoOpti’s fault, which means we find an immediate alternative to get the client to the airport. At the moment we have over 800 vehicles in our platform, and if no one is available nearby we have a rescue list with local private transfers and taxi providers on all our routes.

Q: If there is a severe traffic accident that completely shuts down the highway for several hours, what then?

If it happens just a few meters before our van, so that the driver cannot get off the highway, it means bad luck for the passenger. Unless he purchased the Absolutely No Worries package. In that case we arrange a new flight immediately. We have 24/7 operations control monitoring all highways and vehicle locations, and a great notification system from our drivers, so we always try to prevent getting stuck in traffic jams and find alternative routes instead.

Q: Your company also provides private rides, not just shared ones. Their price goes much higher comparing to shared rides. What kind of a vehicle provides the private ride considering the high price?

Our private rides should always still be cheaper than a taxi, so they are more expensive than shared rides, but still less expensive than the competition. At the moment our platform does not differentiate the type or quality of the vehicle, so we might pick you up with a luxury vehicle, which we have also in the system, but not necessarily. Our marketplace works in the way to first offer the best priced vehicles, then usually, if booked a day or two before the departure, the prices are higher as they are calculated from the more expensive vehicles, which are the only ones left available. To be sure to get a luxury vehicle the booking has to be done through a phone call or with our key account agents.

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Photo credit: GoOpti

Q: What kind of insurance can you offer to your passengers in case that the vehicle is involved in a traffic accident?

We work only with licensed professional operators, which by law already need to have additional insurance for the passengers. We as a mediator do not need it.

Q: For the end: what would you, personally, suggest to the passengers trying to get to or from Slovenia? Which city? What time slot? Etc.

When searching for a flight to Slovenia it is best to use metasearch engines that allow searching through multiple cities (or click a bit more if the search engine does not allow or use travel agent). It is best to select the following cities: Ljubljana, Zagreb, Trieste, Graz, Klagenfurt, Venice and maybe even Vienna, which is a bit further away but has many direct connections to all over the world. In the end, I believe it is better to fly directly and then drive one hour or two, than to catch flight connections. With direct flights you will always find a good option. Sometimes the most costwise and timewise option is to fly to one airport and then fly back from another, which is called an open-jaw flight. Since GoOpti offers connections to all the airports in the region there’s no need to return to the same one.