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SLO Safe Ride tests a phone app

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A local ride service with a mission to keep SLO streets safe is testing out a new app to make it easier for its customers to get a ride.

SLO Safe Ride, which offers rides to and from local bars, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and local events, stealthily rolled out a new phone app for iPhone and Android users. The app allows users to request a ride, set the pick-up and drop-off destination, and get a quote for the ride, all from their phone.

Mike Linn, marketing director and one of the two former Cal Poly students who founded the company in 2010, said the app will allow customers to request rides more easily compared to SLO Safe Ride’s current dispatch system, which functioned more like a traditional taxi service and required users to call in ride requests.

“Right now, the app is in a live-testing phase, and our goal is to have a full launch by September,” Linn said.

Anyone can download the new app. To encourage users to test out the new app, the company’s offering $1 rides to individuals using the new app and encouraging them to send their feedback, both positive and negative, to the company. Linn said promotion would last through July.

“So far we have had a really great response,” Linn said. “We’re really stoked.”

The app will inevitably draw comparisons to rideshare giant Uber. Linn pointed out that unlike Uber drivers, SLO Safe Ride drivers are considered employees. SLO Safe Ride also provides vehicles that can safely transport groups of people, such as vans that can seat up to 14 riders. 

Linn noted that his company works with local bars and restaurants to promote safety in the community. Currently the company even offers riders special wristbands that give discounts and perks at SLO establishments.

“We are a local businesses, and if you have questions or have an issues you can come right to us,” he said. “There’s a lot more accountability.”

The SLO Safe Ride app’s currently available as a free download at Apple’s app store and on Google Play for Android devices.

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