Fredericton hoping to get first ride-sharing app by the holidays

    Uride is a ride-sharing app, similar to Uber or Lyft. (Submitted: Melissa Alas)

    Fredericton residents might have a new way of transportation by the holiday season.

    Uride founder, Cody Ruberto, decided to solve the lack of transportation issue after he saw crowds of people standing in minus 30-degree weather in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

    Uride is a ride-sharing app, similar to Uber or Lyft.

    “Any time I’d go out, at the end of the night, [I’d] see crowds of people stranded with no ride home,” said Ruberto. “I used to throw people in my car and just give free rides, but I couldn’t put a dent into these crowds.”

    Uride is the first ride-sharing app in Frederiction due to New Brunswick previously having a bylaw that restricted ride-sharing apps from operating in the province. But as of November 2020, N.B. passed legislation to allow these companies to operate in the province, under certain conditions.

    All ride-share drivers must pass a background check, have a clean driving record and upgrade to a restricted Class 4 license, which was created specifically for ride-share drivers. With a regular Class 4, drivers have to pass a road test, written test and a medical fitness report, but with the restricted Class 4, they only need to complete the medical fitness test.

    “From that, they created an insurance product … you need to have ride-sharing insurance to operate [in New Brunswick],” he said.

    Ruberto and his company got their ride-sharing insurance sorted out with the province first. Then, Fredericton created their own ride-sharing bylaw, which states that all Uride documents must be submitted to the City of Fredericton.

    “Fredericton … they were on the ball; they already had the bylaw in place,” he said.

    Cody Ruberto is the founder of Uride. (Submitted: Melissa Alas)

    Ruberto said in some markets, they’ve had to speak to the mayor, police or reach out to the city’s council, but Fredericton was ready.

    Originally, his plan was to solve this issue in Thunder Bay but realized this was a bigger problem. Ruberto said most of these issues were all coming from small towns.

    Uride gave its first ride on March 27, 2017.

    “We started driving people from other smaller communities across Canada and they told us the same things, like ‘you need to come to our city,'” said Ruberto.

    When the company was starting out and didn’t have a lot of funds, they partnered with a limousine company. There was a line in their bylaw that said limousines could set their own rates. Uride used the limousine company to get their company running.

    After this, they officially launched as a ride-sharing app in 2018.

    Fredericton residents can download the Uride app, request a ride and will receive a notification when the nearest driver shows up at their location. The passenger pays for the ride directly through the app.

    Once they reach their destination, the passenger can leave the driver a rating. Ruberto said Uride reviews all the comments and refers them to the driver.

    The drivers use their own cars while working for Uride. In N.B., when the driver accepts a ride request, they automatically switch to commercial insurance, which is provided through the company. Ruberto said commercial insurance protects both the driver and their passengers.

    Ruberto is visiting Fredericton to interact with students, business owners and potential Uride drivers. One of the main concerns he heard from potential passengers was the fluctuating prices for transportation.

    “I’ve heard from students that sometimes to get to the university, sometimes it’s $10, sometimes it’s like $25,” he said.

    When passengers reach their destination, they’ll receive their Uride receipt, which shows the fastest route the driver could take. If this route doesn’t match up with the one the driver took, the passenger can contact support and Uride will refund the difference.

    “It really is the community working together … helping people get home safe,” he said.

    Ruberto said his goal is to launch in Fredericton before the holidays. But, as of right now, this depends on the recruitment of drivers and how quickly they can get drivers through the process of being approved to do ride-sharing in the city.