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Kamloops  

Uride CEO says he is passionate about offering transportation options to people in smaller cities

Another way to get home

The founder and CEO of Uride, a new ride-share program launching in Kamloops this year, says driving passengers to their destinations is still his favourite part of the job.

Cody Ruberto told Castanet News he learns something new each shift he drives.

"Every chance I get, I get behind the wheel. You learn a lot about the business, but then also you just get to talk to people from all different walks of life,” Ruberto said.

“One thing that we tend to do is we hang out with people who are similar with us and think the same way. We're in this bubble, a lot of us are. When you go out and drive, you meet all different kinds of people, all different walks of life, all different perspectives. And it's my favourite part of all this, and one of the most enjoyable things in my life, to be honest.”

Ontario-based Uride recently got approval from B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board to operate in certain parts of the province. In early February, Uride announced plans to launch its app-based ride sharing service in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Uride currently offers service in a number of Ontario cities, including Thunder Bay, North Bay and Sudbury.

Ruberto said he started the company in his hometown of Thunder Bay after a serious injury cut short his soccer career in 2017.

“I went back to my hometown, Thunder Bay, to do my rehab from surgeries. And anytime I'd go out at the end of the night, I’d see crowds of people stranded with no ride home,” Ruberto said.

“Often, I would give free rides and put as many people in my car as possible, but I couldn't put a dent into these crowds.”

When other transportation options weren’t readily available, Ruberto said people would walk several kilometres home in -35 C weather, while others would opt to drive, even if they were impaired.

“It was a major, major problem. I’d used ride sharing in other markets, and I thought, ‘Why don’t we have this here?’ Originally it was all about just solving this problem for one city, but we quickly found out it was a much bigger problem than we originally thought.”

Ruberto said the company began expanding into other small cities, and now employs about 20 management staff and many more drivers.

He says his experience playing on soccer teams has informed his work with Uride, as he has had the opportunity to see what does — and doesn’t — make a good work environment.

From his own personal journey, he has learned how to overcome challenges.

“I've had six hip surgeries, I've had multiple doctors tell me I would never play again from the time I was 20 years old. So just being able to overcome challenges, be resourceful, find a way to get it done, has been a huge help in business,” Ruberto said.

He said he is passionate about providing more transportation options for those living outside of large urban hubs.

“I'm from a smaller town, and it's just a problem that we have really limited transportation options. Usually, public transit is great, [but] doesn’t operate 24/7 obviously. Usually, there's very few taxi companies with limited capacity,” he said.

Roberto said in order to use the service, someone in need of a ride can download the Uride app and input their desired destination.

The ride request goes to the nearest available driver, and after the driver accepts the request, passengers can watch their progress on a map as the driver comes to pick them up.

Passengers receive a cost estimate before the trip, and get an emailed receipt and a chance to rate the driver and tip after the trip is complete.

According to Ruberto, Uride hopes to officially launch Kamloops service in mid-to-late March, depending on the driver hiring process.

He said Uride are currently hiring drivers, and they're offering to cover the initial cost of vehicle safety and background checks, as well as a $500 sign-on bonus.

Anyone hoping to become a driver can visit the company's website.

Ruberto said people who are community-focused and enjoy meeting new people will make a good fit as a driver.

“Our team will help you with everything along the way. And we're just looking for great people who want to help the community and and get paid for it as well.”



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