Monday, July 18, 2016

Company looks to launch ride-hailing service resembling Uber in rural areas

Screenshot of Liberty app
A company patterned after Uber hopes to launch a similar system in the rural western panhandle of Nebraska. Liberty, a company created through the U.S. Department of Transportation Small Business Innovation Research program, is a "24-hour ride-hailing service—one that would complement the region’s public transit rather than compete with it," reports The Atlantic. Like Uber, the services will be provided by independent contractors.

"Liberty will partner with local transit agencies, picking up where buses leave off," The Atlantic reports. "Rides can be requested via an app or through the company’s call center, for instance, when buses stop running overnight or when appointments run long. Lefler says they’ll try to keep the fare close to a dollar per mile, and drivers will get to keep 80 percent of the total charge. Liberty is also working with the medical community so that hospitals and other health facilities can book rides on behalf of their patients."

Liberty, which is still waiting for approval from the Nebraska Public Service Commission to operate in the state, hopes to launch the service by Thanksgiving with 25 drivers in Scottsbluff, The Atlantic reports. Valerie Lefler, who heads Liberty, told The Atlantic, "We focus on working with schools, police departments, and the Veteran Administration [to hire drivers. It’s all about community from start to finish. That’s why we can make it work—we’re able to operate and function at the local level.” (Read more)

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