A local rideshare app providing new transportation options and convenience has been launched in Tobago. The on-demand car service that allows you to request private drivers through applications on your mobile devices was launched by TTRideShare on Friday, at the Gulf City Mall, Lowlands.Outlining the vision and mission of the service, director Jason LaCroix told Newsday the service utilises dispatch software to send the nearest driver to one’s location.
He believes TTRideShare's presence in Tobago is a win-win as it allows the public more flexibility and ground to be explored. He said the app has similar features to Uber, the multinational transportation company.
LaCroix said TTRideShare is attempting to fill the void left by the exit of Uber last year.
"Our transport service has been inadequate, very inadequate and people want to get from point A to point B safely," he said.
The TTRideShare official said the app has been quite successful in Trinidad, for just over one year, and it was time to come to Tobago.
“We realise that the Trinis really latched onto the service…We needed to come to Tobago. Tobago is part of TT...it’s not just Trinidad, and therefore it can’t be just Trinidad (we operate in). Tobago, being a tourist destination, there is a lot of foreigners who are accustomed to travelling this way… It's also making it easier for Tobagonians to connect to riders. A driver does not need to go to Crown Point and try to tout customers, you can sit from your car or house, log on and request, and you take them where they need to go.”
He said corporate clients can create an account and utilise the services for its staff or even VIP guests.
La Croix said TTRideShare will also stimulate the local economy by creating employment opportunities for many.
“The economy has changed and there have been massive retrenchments, so you have people who needed some kind of income because they are now out of a job. You have a private vehicle that you can use, you can now sustain yourself, and it's sustainable – you get what you put into it.”
The public can download the TTRideShare app on any mobile phone via the Play Store. The cost of a ride is determined by a combination of base fare, distance and time.
Handpicked Tobago, an event management company, has partnered with TTRideShare for this initiative. Founder of Handpicked Tobago Meisha Trim said that she decided to collaborate with TTRideShare having used the service.
“I personally used the service in Trinidad and can vouch for it. It's seamless…Most people who used Uber, it's really similar,” she said.
She called on Tobagonians to take advantage of the service.
“The drivers that sign up today, they have commission free for a month and that is something people should take advantage of as it means for your first month as a TTRideShare driver, your entire earnings go into your pockets.
“We know a lot of people own their own cars, but there are times when we need to have a ride for some reason; or we can refer a driver to a family member or even visitors coming to the island who want to use the taxi service. So, it’s a good opportunity to earn cash, and for the riders of course it’s a good opportunity because it offers convenience from Charlotteville to Crown Point.”
Both drivers and riders were allowed to sign up for the service during Friday's launch.