Ride-booking app taps customers’ cars


Jose Ramirez. Courtesy DriverOnTap

Need a ride home from the bar, but don’t want to leave your car behind in the parking garage? An app available in Grand Rapids puts a spin on mobile ride-booking: the driver uses the client’s car.

Detroit-based DriverOnTap said the benefit of using its service is the client and their car both get home safely. There’s no need to hail a ride the next day to pick up your abandoned car from the parking garage.

DriverOnTap drivers use taxi or ride-booking services to get to and from the client who booked the ride.

The company said it carries a $5-million insurance policy protecting the driver, the client, the vehicle and any third party, in case of an accident.

The company also said drivers undergo driving record and nationwide background checks.

“Our drivers must have 10 years of clean driving and zero moving violations,” DriverOnTap said. “They undergo pre-employment drug screening and quarterly random drug screening. Finally, they complete up to 10 hours worth of hands-on training from us.”

All drivers wear a uniform and have a company ID visible.

How it works

DriverOnTap reservations are made using the mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.

Reservations can be made up to six hours in advance. 

Before the client confirms the reservation, they'll know who their driver is, the pickup time and the cost of the ride.

Fares for the service start at $35, and the company said prices are generally two to three times the fare of a cab ride home.

Riders and their drivers also have the option of rating each other following a completed ride.

DriverOnTap will pick up customers anywhere within a 25-mile radius of Grand Rapids, and the passenger’s destination can be anywhere in or out of the service area.

Company history

Jose Ramirez, DriverOnTap chairman, developed the idea for DriverOnTap while he was attending Michigan State University.

Ramirez said he’d driven to one of the bars in downtown East Lansing, had a few drinks and realized he should take a taxi home, but he had no way of getting his car home, which led him to create DriverOnTap.

Ramirez partnered with Alex Rigaurdi and Hyukjoo Kwon, also MSU students, and they founded the company in July 2014. Rigaurdi serves as chief marketing officer, and Hyukjoo serves chief technology officer.

The service was first launched in Lansing in January 2015 and has expanded across the state, officially arriving in Grand Rapids last spring.

DriverOnTap employs about 100 drivers across Michigan.

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