Last summer, we introduced you to Wridz, a new ride-hailing app that chose Corpus Christi to be a test market.
After 1,000 rides, the company has decided Corpus Christi will be a permanent location for their operations.
“Their pay plan really turned out to be good. It’s good for the drivers,” John Blanchette said.
Blanchette was one of the first to sign up to be a driver for Wridz. After the app was taken down to make some modifications, he again returned to be a driver when it was relaunched in the Coastal Bend a few weeks ago.
That’s all because of the payment plan. Unlike the other ride-hailing apps, Wridz gives their drivers 100 percent of the fares and tips.
They pay a monthly subscription fee to use the app.
Blanchette estimated he would make a couple thousand dollars a month.
“I did really well first couple of months," he said. "It was building. I think we were up to 29 drivers in town. So, we’d established a foothold and were getting more and more ride requests.”
“If they’re having to drive every weekend to make ends meet, with our company, maybe they can only have to drive two weekends," said Steve Wright, founder and owner of the company. "And that gives them more family time, or time for other projects, or things that they want to do. Right now, I consider it more educating than marketing, educating drivers that we do care.”
For riders, Wright said Wridz fares are about 10 percent cheaper than competitors and have a host of different safety features.
For drivers, he is waiving the onboarding and subscription fees for the time being, until he feels the market has a strong passenger presence.
“When a driver comes in at this point, and they go through the process and successfully become a driver on our system, I will reimburse them their criminal background check that they have to pay through the process, as well," Wright said. "So, a driver ultimately has zero invested to try this out.”
Originally, it was tested here and in Lubbock. Now it’s been added to Austin with Houston, San Antonio and more on the way.
Our initial deal was to be kind of a local, regional," said Wright. "But if somebody uses our app and really loves it in Texas and they're flying to another state, it'd be nice to offer them service on the other end. That being said, those other locations, I've licensed out those locations for somebody else to operate. So, it's not going to take me away from my project here in Texas."
“Potentially it can be very, very beneficial," said Blanchette. " It’s growing. Steven tells me there’s several other cities. A couple cities up north like Chicago and Cincinnati that have taken it on and Boston. So, it’s going to be growing. They’re trying to, of course, be competitive with their fares and everything.”
"We're trying to stay very competitive on the pricing," Wright said. "These days the pricing for ride-share has been all over the map. It's really hard to dictate and do that. We do not do surge pricing like many of the companies do.
Wridz does offer something called PERK: Passenger Enabled Rideshare Kickstarter. It's a way for riders to toss in money up front to entice drivers to pick up their ride request right away or more frequently.
Wridz is launching in Cincinnati on May 2. It will be live in San Antonio later that month. There are plans for Wridz in the other major Ohio cities, Chicago, Wichita, KS, Raleigh, NC, and southwest Louisiana.
Wridz is available to download on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
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