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Hillsdale now has a getting a ride share service. Courtesy | Pexels.com

 

Hillsdale Daily News reporter Corey Murray is the City of Hillsdale’s first licensed Lyft driver — but he has yet to pick up a local rider.

For now, Murray has been driving several nights out of the week for Uber and Lyft, two popular ride-sharing com­panies, in the more urban city of Ann Arbor.

“I’ve figured it out — you can make like $300 — $400 bucks a night up there,” he said. “It gets super busy.”

According to Murray, driving in Ann Arbor has not only given him extra money, it has exposed him to a variety of people from drunk college stu­dents to average working people, but all trying to get around the Detroit met­ro­politan area.

“They’re a crazy crowd,” he said.

Murray said he got started because ser­vices such as Lyft and Uber are cheaper than taxi ser­vices for both drivers and riders. Because ride-sharing drivers do not have to go through the same bureau­cratic pro­ce­dures taxi drivers must comply with, they can offer rides to cus­tomers at a lower fare. For Murray, the lure of extra cash was too sweet to pass up.

Murray said he hopes his success in Ann Arbor will extend to Hillsdale, espe­cially once college stu­dents find out he’s an active driver.

Although he orig­i­nally tried to secure a position driving for Uber in Hillsdale, Murray learned that par­ticular ride sharing service only covers densely pop­u­lated areas. Lyft, on the other hand, moves state-by-state, making rural ride sharing a pos­si­bility.

Murray is not the first taxi-type service to debut in Hillsdale. Hillsdale res­ident Charles “Chopper” Fer­guson opened the taxi service, Call and Go Now, in 2016 as a way of securing gas money for the many free rides he had been giving to Hillsdale res­i­dents for years before.

Ferguson’s service shut down in 2017 after increasing insurance rates made the con­tin­uance of his business untenable. Addi­tionally, Fer­guson con­tinued to give out free rides, dam­aging his profit margins.

“I should’ve started charging more sooner, but we’re not here to rip people off,” he told The Col­legian.

Fol­lowing Ferguson’s efforts, a Hillsdale College club Enactus attempted to start an ride sharing service based on the Uber business model. Despite initial strong interest from the school, it too failed to take hold in the local com­munity.

The city does, however, already have one public trans­portation service that has been in effect since the 1970s: Dial-A-Ride. The service’s three buses — only two are cur­rently active, however — operate within city limits from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, serving an average of 150 to 180 pas­sengers per day, according to a March 2017 Col­legian article.

According to Mayor Adam Stockford, 18 percent of DART’s funding comes from the federal gov­ernment and 40 percent from the state gov­ernment (including grants in 2017 to partner with Key Oppor­tu­nities’ trans­portation program and to order two new buses). The City of Hillsdale pro­vides the remaining 42 percent, which typ­i­cally falls in the range of $100,000 to $140,000. DART draws this money from the city’s general fund.

“We were talking about goals — and edu­cation as one of our goals — so I think if we were ever to end the public trans­portation system, we would have a sig­nif­icant problem on our hands,” he said at a Feb. 19 meeting. “This is not an endorsement of public transport, but it is the world we live in.”

Murray said he thinks ser­vices like Lyft will make the getting around much easier for the people who need it.

“I don’t think it’ll get crazy busy, but once the word gets out, I think people will start using it — espe­cially on the weekends,” he said.

 

  • disqus_odKVC5cL1k

    Did Enactus ever get their app com­pleted? The last story about it was they had lost the wire transfer of an off­shore developer.

    The main uses are trips to Metro, get the cost under the parking cost, and I’d likely use it, but it’s the return trip that is con­cerning. Starting in Hillsdale, you can always drive if they fail to show. At metro, they don’t show, it’s a bigger issue, and likely a car rental to get back.

    • Ellsworth_Toohey

      Actually no.… at Metro it’s easy to get a Uber or Lyft. Those are very attractive rides for the driver Not cheap but cheaper then a one way rental. Plus some­times you can nego­tiate the ride off the books with the driver