When entrepreneurs Steven Schmidt and Spencer Nikkel met at Bethany College six years ago, they never thought they’d go into business together.
Now Schmidt, 26, and Nikkel, 24, have opened a new venture called Driverseat to help curb Saskatchewan’s drunk driving rates, the highest in Canada.
“You can’t just have a drink or two and still drive home,” Nikkel said, referring to the new .04 drinking and driving laws brought in by SGI recently. “We want to help make our roads safer.”
Driverseat has been operating in places like Kitchener, Ontario since 2011 but launched in Saskatoon Monday.
Schmidt said they’re cheaper than taxis but still make money.
“We’re using your vehicle and your insurance,” he said. “With no wear and tear on our fleet, we’re able to offer cheaper rates.”
650 CKOM price checked a cab fare from Rawlco Radio to Sasktel Centre, using Taxi Fare Finder, which came to $36.25. The same fare for Driverseat’s DD service came to $33.
Nikkel said they’ve already faced backlash from cab companies for setting up their business.
“We aren’t here to steal cab companies market,” he said. “We are a different service and not Uber.”
Manager of Comfort Cab Kelly Frie said Saturday morning, he wanted to research Driverseat before commenting on the service.
Any car transporting passengers for money has to have a class PT license plate like a taxi, which costs $4,000 in Saskatoon, according to SGI’s rate calculator.
Because Driverseat is a car moving business they aren’t subject to the same requirements as a cab company or a rideshare operation like Uber.
Advocates against Drinking and Driving are applauding the new company as an affordable option.
“Any extra choices we have that encourage people not to drink and drive is a win-win,” Bonny Stevenson said, her son Quinn was killed by a drunk driver in 2013.
The City of Saskatoon have yet to respond to a request for comment, but companies like Safe Ride Designated Drivers and First Choice Designated Driver Service already operate legally in Saskatoon.
— JT Marshall (@jtmarshallCKOM) April 21, 2017