OPINION: Let's get the wheels rolling on ridesharing

April 14, 2017 - 8:35pm Updated: April 15, 2017 - 8:14am

Now that I’ve used ridesharing for the first time, I’m convinced.

The sooner it can come to Red Deer, the better.

Recently, my wife and I spent a few days in San Diego. While we spent a lot of time on foot walking around the beautiful coastal city, we also took advantage of ridesharing on several occasions to get where we wanted to go.

From start to finish, the ridesharing experience couldn’t have gone better for us.

Firstly, booking a ride was quick and easy thanks to the mobile app. Once our request was received, we were given the name and picture of our driver, along with the make and license plate number for their vehicle so we knew exactly who’d be picking us up.

Response times were great, ranging anywhere from 1-4 minutes; certainly not long enough to leave us wondering whether our ride was still coming (like one may experience when calling a taxi on a Friday or Saturday night).

The drivers we ended up with were, for the most part, friendly and conversational. So that was nice. Our small talk included their experience as drivers, some new to the ride-sharing game looking to supplement their income or recent retirees filling their time, others who do it as a full-time gig but enjoy the freedom of making their own schedules

No cash exchanged or cards, all handled through the app, even leaving a gratuity was handled through the app with the receipt being emailed to you.

The best part of our ridesharing experience, quite frankly, was the cost. After having used it six times during our San Diego stay, we were out a grand total of $47.84 U.S. That’s an average of about eight bucks a ride.

The added bonus for us was because we were new users of the particular ridesharing service we employed; we were given a number of discounts that saw us pay even less than that (almost 50% less, with the use of a 20 credit). Needless to say, we were quite pleased.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to think about ridesharing until I'd tried it for the first time. You can now count me among those who would love to see it available here in Red Deer.

Initial talks last year took place as Uber looked at setting up shop in Red Deer. Things have been quiet on that front lately and it doesn’t sound like it’s on the City’s radar. But with Calgary already on board and Lethbridge looking closely at opening its roads to Uber as early as this summer, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if our city was next.

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