Six months after it launched, Chatham-Kent's ridesharing program is continuing to grow.
Uride launched locally in October 2018 and according to CEO Cody Ruberto, the number of rides it has given has increased by 300 per cent since the first month.
"It's been great, the people in Chatham have been really open to the idea of ride sharing," he said. "A lot of great supporters. We have some people who use us every day, some people who use us multiple times day. Honestly, we're really humbled for the amount of support the community's shown."
Ruberto said on average, they are providing around 1,000 rides per month in the municipality. Some of the busiest times for Uride drivers are mornings and early evenings, bringing people to and from work. He also notices that the biggest spike in rides are on weekends to provide people with safe transportation home after they've been drinking, which is one of the main intentions Ruberto had in mind when he created the company in 2017.
"People are using us for all different types of things," Ruberto explained. "Obviously the Friday and Saturday nights, you'll have people going out to the bars, going to parties and things like that. We do notice a big jump Saturday night."
Ruberto said the biggest learning curve for the fairly young business has been adapting to different markets, something that put them in a unique situation when launching in a wide-spread municipality like Chatham-Kent. Drivers are stationed in Chatham and venture out to other communities across the municipality but Ruberto said it's not unusual to drive people as far as London or Windsor.
"I think it's been a positive thing for us as well, just to prove that Chatham-Kent is a region that ridesharing can work and that we can solve, not only problems in one city but a place like Chatham-Kent where there are multiple cities all throughout the region. A bit of a learning curve but we're excited that we've had the opportunity to figure it out," he said.
Although ridership is on the upswing, Ruberto said they are hoping to still get a few more drivers to work in the area.
"Some people come on the platform and they do this for a living, they drive full time," said Ruberto. "We also have people who help out on the weekends, might give a ride before work and after work and they could be looking for extra money. But, more importantly, we want people that are passionate about our mission which is preventing impaired driving and helping people."
According to Ruberto, the next thing they hope to bring to the area is corporate contracts for business who want to provide transportation for their employees. He is also continuously looking at ways to give back to the community that he said has shown him and his business so much support.
"If anyone has something in the community that they need help with, they can reach out to users through our Facebook page," he explained. "We give our best to give back because like I said, the community's been so great to us. Whatever we can do to help out someone, we definitely want to do."
For more information on how to use Uride or become a driver click here.