Uber might not be able to get past Vancouver city council – but a new app-based car service will be hitting the city streets soon.
It’s called Ripe Rides – and bills itself as a digital-era luxury “black car” service.
Like Uber, riders can hail one from their phone. And like Uber all payment is done digitally. But it’s not a “ride share.” The fleet is owned by Ripe Rides, and the drivers are employees.
Earlier today, Drex and producer Grace got to beta test the system, and tonight, founder Otis Perrick joined them on Drex Live.
Rubber hits the road
Perrick says it took nearly two years to stickhandle the business past the city and the Passenger Transportation Board. He said it was a challenge, particularly because they faced opposition from limo companies, the Vancouver Taxi Association, and suburban taxis.
But he says in the end, taking their time was worth it. He says they got approved because they understood they needed to meet local rules, and wrote their business plan accordingly.
“Doing a little more research, and understanding what has to be done. There does have to be some sort of regulation. We understood that.”
Luxury car service
Perrick says he go the idea when travelling for business, and noticed most other cities had a “black car service.” He says he merged that concept with the convenience of Uber to come up with his company.
The product? A fleet of 20 black Cadillac XTS’. Perrick says there’s no doubt that it’s a more costly ride than a taxi – but that customers also know they’re ordering a luxury product. He says their client base will range from business savvy entrepreneurs, to realtors, to ladies’ nights out – right down to anyone looking for a posh ride for the night.
“You might say that’s anyone with a smart phone. That’s true. It is anyone with a smart phone. But it’s anyone who understands that their paying for a luxury service. You’re not paying for a taxi.”
Way of the future?
The Ripe Rides roll out comes on the heels of a missive from the Competition Bureau of Canada urging regulators across the country to re-vamp regulations around the taxi industry, to make room for Uber-like companies.
Perrick says he’s not surprised. He says people have come to expect the convenience of the new technology, along with the dependability of being able to book a car, and see that it’s on the way.
“I think the competition bureau is just asking that everyone get up to those standards. It is the digital age.”
He says he thinks regulators are slowly seeing the need for change, which is part of how his business cleared the legal hurdles.
“What they did do was allowed a new product. This was something in between taxis and limos.”