On a recent trip to Cincinnati, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Drivr. Getting to downtown Cincinnati was a worry of mine, but when I came down the escalator and saw my handsome Drivr driver holding a sign with my name, I knew my journey from the Covington, Kentucky airport was going to be memorable.
Wait, what is Drivr and why wasn't I taking a taxi or an Uber? Truth be told, I hate taking taxis from Fort Lauderdale International Airport and that dislike sticks with me as I travel. Too many times I find myself arguing with the driver since he wants me to pay all in cash which I don't have often. I finally shut him up by saying I'll pay the bill with credit, but tip in cash. It's a process and uncomfortable and happens too many times. With all the weird laws across the country about Uber, I never can tell if I'm allowed to take an Uber here or there, to or from the airport.
When I was presented with Drivr, I jumped at the chance for a ride from the airport in a Tesla.
As mentioned, my handsome Drivr driver picked me up in style. I was asked if there were any artists or type of music I preferred over others. Pleasant, kind, and full of answers about the company, he informed me about Cincinnati as well, told me of some of the history and local haunts I should check out. He talked about the service some and about the car we were in. He didn't use these words, but Drivr's website elaborates "Each Tesla Model S is furnished with free LTE WiFi to enhance passenger productivity. Feel like relaxing, with Slacker Radio you can enjoy nearly any genre of music. Our Teslas are also equipped with air suspension for perfect ride quality, as well as a panoramic glass roof for breathtaking, Instagram-able views."
So how was the Tesla? Without the engine noise, you do hear more of the road noise, but once that is understood, your focus is back on the fact that you are in a luxury electric taxi and you feel a little special. It was lower to the ground than my Audi Q5, so getting in and out was different, but manageable.
For more about Drivr and its beginnings, here's a story released in the April / May 2015 of Cincy Magazine.
When Nick Seitz and Brandon Beard launched their environmentally friendly car service with the all-electric Tesla Model S last year, they decided to stay in Cincinnati, not because they thought it would be easy, but because it would be harder.
“We thought it wasn’t an ideal market from an [electric] charging infrastructure standpoint. This is a smaller market for other [car service] companies like Uber and Lyft,” says Seitz. “So it was a good place to challenge our concept.”
The Cincinnati natives have been pleasantly surprised. In the first five months they’ve had about 2,000 unique users for their Drivr Green Personal Transportation Service and they’re looking to expand in several western cities including Denver.
They originally targeted the business market, but say they’ve found a variety of customers.
“We’ve provided transportation for weddings, business Christmas parties, trips to Indianapolis for OSU games, airport pickup and bar nights. We’ve even followed people from bar to bar and waited for them,” Seitz says.
Door-to-door service in the four-passenger Tesla, which averages more than 250 miles on a charge, costs $2.50 a mile, with a minimum of $15. They say that’s comparable with average taxi rates of $2 a mile in Cincinnati with the luxury of traveling in a zero-emission vehicle with a 17-inch navigation screen, free Wi-Fi and a passenger-controlled environment.
“We view ourselves as less a car service and more of a technology company,” Beard says. “Our system is completely web-based. You can book the car, it takes it out of inventory for the time it is going to be used and manages all the scheduling. It sends a reminder to you and the driver 30 minutes in advance of the pickup and handles all the follow up, including the thank you. Everything is automated from the moment you get booked to the moment you exit the car. It makes your commuting life easier.”
They say the technology is an extension of that found in the $100,000 Tesla.
“The engineering was so good, there wasn’t anything remotely close in terms of business use, “ says Seitz, who met Beard when they both worked for the Tesla sales outlet at the Kenwood Town Centre. “We’ve both started companies in the past and it became apparent to us that there were advantages in the vehicle that the industry hadn’t take advantage of yet,” Seitz says.
What they’ve learned, Seitz says, “is that making something a little better isn’t good enough. It’s got to be 10 times better.” – cincymagazine.com
Will you try out Drivr when you visit Cincinnati? I believe there was mention of the program expanding to more than their 3 white and 1 black Tesla Model S vehicles they currently have as well as a possible expansion to Seattle.
We wish to see this option in our city soon. Best of luck Nick and Brandon!
And yes, there's an app for that.