Getting there is getting a little easier with an online service matching drivers and riders for the commute to and from work.
Rides2Work.com launched in September and more than 500 people in Northeastern Pennsylvania are using the service, said its founder Chris Hackett.
It aims to connect people in places not served by public transportation with a way to get to back and forth to work. Drivers can earn money from the prices they set for their riders. People who don’t own a vehicle can hold a steady job and earn income to support themselves and their families, Hackett explained.
“It’s one of those challenges in the staffing business we’ve faced for years,” said Hackett who also owns OneSource Staffing Solutions and i2M manufacturing in the Crestwood Industrial Park in Mountain Top.
The website has gone through two revisions, making the third version much more user friendly for smartphone users, the primary tool for communicating between the parties.
A user creates a profile on the website, providing information about themselves including a photo, gender preference of rider, work schedule, character and reliability references and employment verification. The profile system automatically matches a driver with a rider near them. They can communicate with one another by email or text before riding. There’s also a messaging tool on the website, Hackett said.
He said it’s very similar to car pooling, but the users live close to each other, may not know each other and work in the same industrial park.
The service opens up a wide community from which users can connect, he said.
“We think this is a real great community tool,” he said.
The service is free, but users can charge for the rides.
A pricing system was pulled, Hackett said, because “the user community wanted to have the ability to set their own rates.”
People from a variety of fields and a wide age range use the system. Younger people, particularly those who would have relied on their parents for rides, are among the users, Hackett said.
The service also has a green benefit, because 97 percent of the people who commute to work go it alone, he said.
The income earned from the service is income-tax free, Hackett added, as long as the earnings do not exceed the yearly cost of vehicle ownership.