MANCHESTER — While the trendy on-demand ride app Uber has gained popularity in more urban areas of Vermont, the service is now available to residents in the Northshire as well, thanks to local driver George Ohlweiler.
A long time resident of Dorset and self-proclaimed car enthusiast, Ohlweiler apparently will be the first local resident to join Uber as a driver. In an area like Manchester with limited public transportation options, the driver hopes to provide a service that will fill a void in the community. Already, Ohlweiler has seen ride requests grow steadily.
"This is a rural area, and folks here can't just hail a taxi or jump on a bus whenever they need to," said Ohlweiler. "Uber gives them another option to get around on their schedule, at a reasonable cost."
Formulated in 2008, Uber is an on-demand ride service app available on Android, Windows, and Apple operating systems. The app connects with the phone's GPS, allowing both drivers and customers to track each other's location. All payments are processed via credit card on the app, removing cash from the equation. Ohlweiler hopes that Uber can prove useful for tourists and residents alike.
"People are coming here from larger cities where they're used to calling a cab or Uber for a ride home after a night out," said Ohlweiler. "I want people to know they can use Uber here too, so they can enjoy themselves without needing to worry about driving home."
To become an Uber driver, individuals such as Ohlweiler must pass both a DMV and background check, own their car, and possess valid insurance.Ohlweiler brings some unique qualifications to the position, however, adding that his life has revolved around four wheels since a young age.
With a background in sports car racing, the driver has worked for local repair shops, served as president of the Green Mountain Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America, and is active in promoting driver safety by organizing local training sessions for the Tire Rack Street Survival School.
In addition to providing day to day transportation services in the Northshire, Ohlweiler will also coordinate transportation to and from airports and train stations in Albany, Boston, and Hartford on an individual basis. Overall, the driver intends to make himself available as often as possible to best serve the community.
"With all the weddings at the Dorset Inn, Barrows House, Equinox and other hotels and inns, it's already starting to get busy," said Ohlweiler. "I plan to be available most weekends and evenings throughout the summer to help folks stay safe and get where they need to go,"
Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.