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As Seen On NBC: How CharterUP’s Armir Harris is Paving the Way for Independent Bus Operators

Published September 15, 2023

More than just a disruptor in the transportation industry, CharterUP exemplifies the power of dreaming big and the relentless pursuit of those dreams.

Earning the coveted No. 2 spot on Inc. Magazine’s top 5000 list, CharterUP has solidified its reputation as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies. At the helm of this success is the entrepreneurial spirit and vision of its founder, Armir Harris.

Armir’s journey from humble beginnings to hypergrowth was recently featured in a segment that aired on NBC Austin’s KXAN. The broadcast piece shares how the seeds for CharterUP were planted two decades ago, when Armir arrived in America as a political refugee from Albania and spent early mornings before school cleaning vans and helping in his family’s limousine business.

The adversity he faced in his early years and the early experience in the transportation industry helped Armir develop insights and determination to disrupt the charter bus industry as the CEO and founder of CharterUP.

“We worked very closely with bus companies. I realized that in order to put the customer first, we needed real-time data and availability,” Armir shared with KXAN. “There was simply no solution like this out there.”

And thus, CharterUP was born – a charter bus platform that uses technology to revolutionize group transportation with a new model of accessibility, transparency and accountability. CharterUP is the world’s first and only charter bus marketplace, allowing groups to reserve a bus in just 60 seconds, and is also the leading provider of charter and shuttle solutions for Fortune 500 companies. The platform offers charter bus rentals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, and more cities across the U.S. at predictable and transparent price points.  

KXAN describes CharterUP as the Expedia or Priceline for group transportation, but with the added benefits of on-demand booking, ratings and real-time tracking.

But CharterUP’s success isn’t just its own. It’s a ripple effect that has opened doors for hundreds of others.

Take Mark Thronson, for instance. Owner of Elite Transportation of Texas, Mark’s shuttle bus business was primarily San Antonio-centric. That was until he crossed paths with CharterUP. 

“Armir came down to San Antonio, looked at what we had to offer, and he said we’d be a great partner,” Mark told KXAN. 

Today, thanks to this partnership, Mark boasts over 10 shuttles in the Austin area and has witnessed a staggering growth of nearly 40% in his business. With CharterUP as a partner, one of the largest technology companies in the world trusts Mark’s business to shuttle employees to a manufacturing plant each day.

From 2019 to 2022, CharterUP’s growth rate skyrocketed to an astounding 111,130%. And the momentum hasn’t slowed down. This year alone, the company has collaborated with more than 600 bus operators, managing more than 4,000 vehicles nationwide.

“Our goal is to have a CharterUP bus in every major intersection across the United States and then the world,” Armir told KXAN.

Watch the full segment on KXAN to hear more about the power of perseverance, vision and the incredible opportunities that arise when one person’s success becomes a ladder for many others.

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