Natalie Dalziel will launch an Uber-like rideshare service on Queen’s Birthday Weekend. PHOTO/JOHN LAZO-RON
It’s been talked about, it’s been cried out for, and it’s been brought up numerous times on social media pages.
And now, the community’s call for a rideshare service in Wairarapa has been answered.
On Queen’s Birthday weekend, Natalie Dalziel will launch the region’s first Uber-like service called Runabout.
Dalziel, who lives in Featherston, said people would be able to use an app to request a ride to get from A to B throughout the region.
The difference with this app would be the option to choose the driver, rather than the app allocating a driver.
Dalziel had been shocked by the support she had received.
“There’s a huge demand,” she said.
“From my own experience, I know I would use such a service so why not get one started here.
“People are really excited about it because we really have nothing over here and this will help people who don’t have transport.
“What made me happiest when I put this out there, was that there was not one single comment of negative feedback. It’s much bigger already than I ever thought it was going to be.”
Runabout would provide another avenue for meeting people and flexible employment, which Dalziel was looking for when she thought of the idea.
“I worked on a sheep and beef farm, and I learned a lot of people living rurally get lonely,” she said.
“There’s a high rate of depression and suicide among farmers. So, I thought it’s another opportunity to meet people in your town.
“By providing these employment opportunities to people locally, I think it will boost our economy as well as lower crime levels and drug abuse.
“In rural areas all around New Zealand [drunk-driving] is a problem, so this would take that aspect away.”
Last week Dalziel received 50 applications for people to become drivers for Runabout.
The majority came from Featherston.
They were going through the certification process with the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Dalziel said there would be no restrictions on what type of car was used, whereas other rideshare companies restricted cars older than 10 years being used.
“As long as their car can achieve the certificate of fitness, I don’t care if it’s from 1950,” said Dalziel.
“I want this to be as accessible to people as possible, so Runabout will refund to the drivers the cost for them to get their passenger endorsement and certificate of fitness so more people can do it.”
There would be a minimum charge of about $5.80 to cover costs for the driver getting to their destined location.
After that, the ride would cost $1.35 per km, with a booking fee of $1.80 to keep the app running.
Dalziel said a ride from Featherston to Greytown would cost about $18.
“I would be charging passengers enough that it makes it worthwhile for the drivers because they’re paid a percentage of that.”
Dalziel said there was also a delivery side to the app, where businesses could use it to deliver food and other items