Chauffeur-like service just a click away

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

An affordable charter service has hit the roads of Port Hedland in the form of a new app called H Ride.

Local husband and wife Mario and Bozi Ivkovic launched the new app as a way to travel in and around the Hedland area this month, treating locals to a chauffeur-style service.

Mrs Ivkovic said the service came about after they noticed more people demanding the niche service in the Pilbara on social media.

“We’ve been in Hedland for almost nine years now and the one thing that always comes up on social media is the need for an Uber-like service,” she said.

“So we were thinking we’ve been here long enough, we know the market, we know the people, we know what they like and don’t like, so we thought we’ll start this on our own. If we didn’t start it, someone else would eventually, so we thought, ‘why not’.”

The new app is similar to Uber, with customers able to book a ride via an app service, track their drivers and see a fare estimate before riding.

However, Mrs Ivkovic said it was the added services which would make it valuable to locals.

“We also have a website and call centre for those who like to speak with people directly,” she said.

“We also accept payment via the app, EFTPOS and in cash.”

The highly anticipated app, which has been in the works since last year, was launched on Valentine’s Day and has since receivedSS applications from local drivers wanting to join the H Ride team.

“Right now, we have five full-time, brand new cars but we also have four additional cars, which are doing casual drivers throughout the weekend,” she said.

“For now, the service is only in Hedland but we have a plan to expand across the Pilbara.”

Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce president Peter Carter said the new business would be great for the local economy.

“I think any new business in town is great,” he said.

“Hedland has a lot of opportunities for businesses — small, medium and large — to flourish and this is a service area that locals have asked for for a long time,” he said.

“I don’t think people mind paying a little bit extra for something to get good quality and services, and I think this market is different to the taxi market we have already, so this is a great niche they’ve delved into.”

Mr Carter said if the business succeeded, it would only improve the Hedland and surrounding economy.

“We have seen in the local taxi industry the challenges of providing a 24-hour service, slow turnaround times and tapering off when the service is over-swamped on days where big events are happening, like New Year’s and North West Festival,” he said.

“If they can overcome those challenges, then absolutely they will advance and improve our economy.”

The H Ride app is now available for download for Apple and Android devices.

More information can be found at hride.com.au.

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