New rideshare program in Kamloops, Kelowna continues to grow despite steep gas prices
Sky high gas prices are not slowing down a new rideshare service in Kamloops and Kelowna, in fact the company is continuing to expand in the province.
URide began recruiting drivers earlier this year and opened its Kelowna branch on May 5, followed by its Kamloops branch in June.
“We are still expanding and recruiting more drivers, especially in Kamloops,” said CEO Cody Ruberto.
With gas up to around $2 per litre in Kamloops and the Okanagan, some transportation companies are having a tough time. One local delivery service in Kamloops has already closed. In order to successfully recruit and retain drivers, URide is giving drivers more financial support which has so far been successful.
“Obviously the gas prices are the biggest expense for our drivers but we are trying to combat that with weekly income guarantees,” said operations manager for western Canada, Ravi Dhami. “We are also extending the duration that drivers are receiving sign on bonuses, and we are seeing success using this approach.”
Ruberto launched URide in Ontario in 2017, with the main objective of lowering drunk driving in Canada by making faster, cheaper ride sharing available.
He is continuing with his goal of expanding the service in as many Canadian cities as possible, with a branch opening in Victoria next, followed by Nanaimo and Prince George.
They also have 11 in Ontario and several more soon to open in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
“Being a bigger, widespread company helps us help our employees absorb the high cost of fuel,” Dhami said.
While URide does not reveal how many drivers they employ, Ruberto said there are dozens employed in Kelowna and Kamloops, and room for more.
“There is a massive need for this service everywhere,” Ruberto said. “We are currently looking at how to make the model work well in smaller towns. We are excited to prevent impaired driving and get people home safely but we still have a long way to go.”
Dhami said fares fluctuate based on time and kilometres but riders can expect to pay about 20% less than taxis local to each area. Using the app to enter starting and ending points gives riders an exact dollar amount.
For some examples, a trip from the Kelowna International Airport to Kelowna General Hospital will cost the rider $34.02, while a trip from Kamloops International Airport to Royal Inland Hospital costs riders $28.43.
The Uride app is currently available to download on the App store and Google Play store.
A mix of full-time and part-time driving positions are available in Kamloops and Kelowna.
Ride hailing drivers must be at least 19 years old and hold a Class 4 license. They need to own their own vehicles and have proof of insurance and work eligibility. A background check is required.
The company is offering part-time drivers a $1,000 signing bonus and weekly guarantees of $1,500 for those who decide to join Uride’s All Star Program.
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