YORKTON – A local upstart brings big city services to small town Saskatchewan.
"Booker Rides is a mobile app ride hailing service," said Kyle Dionne, co-owner of Booker Rides, adding, "it's basically the link between local drivers and anyone who needs to get a ride within Yorkton or the nearest community."
The service is akin to Uber or Lyft, two companies that you might find in larger centers.
"We'd seen that everyone had heard of other brands – other ride hailing services," said Dionne, adding, "we thought, 'wouldn't it be nice if Yorkton had something like this'."
"You know, the bigger companies – they don't come to communities until they hit a certain population value, so we felt that there was an opportunity here and people who are in need of rides and ride services – we started to look into it and kind of built from there," said Dionne.
Now in operation for around two months, Dionne said that reception for the service has been great.
"Some of the comments we're hearing is that the rides are very quick, [customers] love that they can see where the driver is and exactly when they're going to show up," said Dionne.
Dionne said that customers who order a ride through Booker receive a text notification from the app once their ride has arrived – which saves them from waiting and watching – noting transactions are cashless and done with the use of a credit card or VISA debit.
"You basically get in the vehicle, you get to your destination, you open the door, you step out and that's the transaction," said Dionne.
Dionne said that Booker Rides worked with a company out of British Columbia to develop the software used in the application.
"We worked with a company out of BC to make it up and work with us and away we went."
Dionne said that the company has started to look at other markets as well, noting the success of the Yorkton-based operation.
"We have started to look at the market in Moose Jaw and in Saskatoon – right now we're in the process of looking for drivers," said Dionne, adding that the company was hoping to be in Saskatoon by the end of the summer and in Moose Jaw soon after.