[dropcap size=big]C[/dropcap]ityStasher is a travel tech start-up that is tapping into a new niche within the sharing economy – left luggage. After downloading the app, you can search for places around you to safely leave your suitcase or rucksack, allowing you to freely explore the city before continuing your journey.
Traditional left-luggage facilities in train stations typically charge £10 a day to use one of their lockers, but CityStasher is building up a network of alternative drop-off points in shops and hotels, which charge £4 for under three hours or £6 for 24 hours, which seems reasonable.
Although some people can easily leave their suitcase in the hotel they have been staying in for free, returning to pick it up is not always convenient if your onward journey is from another point in the city.
For example, you are staying at a hotel in Canary Wharf, where you have had meetings, but want to go shopping in central London before getting the Tube to Heathrow in the evening, it doesn’t make sense to go all the way back to your hotel to get your case.
Equally, you could be a backpacker who can’t check-in to their hostel for six hours, or someone waiting to collect keys for their Airbnb.
Trials of the service began last year, and now there are more than 80 “StashPoints” across the UK, as well as one in Amsterdam. So far, more than 15,000 bags have been stowed via the app.
CityStasher says that each bag booked through the website is fully insured up to £750, and every StashPoint is vetted for security. In addition, cases are secured with a safety seal.
What inspired Anthony Collias, co-founder of CityStasher, to launch the app? He says: “The idea for CityStasher came about when my co-founder wanted to store a bag in London for the day but was outraged at the price the stations charged.
“He ended up popping over to my house to leave the bag instead, which sparked the idea; what if handy, recognisable locations like hotels or local shops could be used instead of the over-priced train station options?
“It’s so simple; there are tonnes of shops, hotels and other venues across London and the UK which have secure rooms. We connect these spaces with people who want a cheap, convenient and safe way of stashing their belongings for a few hours or days.”