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GRuber (not to be confused with Will Forte's McGruber) - Grand Rapids OWNED Rideshare Service

Photo of Aaron Smith
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Uber and Lyft are worth nearly 100 BILLION dollars combined. They are generating revenues in the 10's of billions of dollars each year which means MILLIONS OF DOLLARS PER DAY. 

I would like to see a portion of that money staying in Grand Rapids. 

Over 85% of rideshare riders are local residents from within a 10 mile radius of downtown Grand Rapids (living, working, or visiting). 15% are out of town visitors. 

I don't think it would be too hard or expensive to market & implement a rideshare service similar to Uber/Lyft when 85% of the users are local. A portion of the revenues generated could go to other less funded organizations/non profits to help even more locally. 

I believe local residents would love to have a "buy local" option when it comes to rideshare in Grand Rapids.

We've seen (and will continue to see) that people in Grand Rapids generally do not like to use typical public transport. It's just not a viable solution for everyone in Grand Rapids. Most people prefer a private or semi-private ride and are willing to pay for it. I think these rides could be made affordable enough for ALL with a little help from the City and possibly some private funding. 

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

From home to work, work to home, to bars, restaurants, shows, and art galleries. The possibilities are endless in this beautiful, vibrant city of ours!

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Just myself for now.

Size of your team or organization

  • I am submitting as an individual

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We would like to use funding for continued concept development, app development, eventual marketing, and a small operations team. If the software is as good as we hope it will be, we would like to see this rolled out to any/all municipalities for future use. This would be extremely helpful to some of the rural communities that have little or no public transportation system in place currently. With this software, they can quickly and easily have their own residents helping their friends & neighbors get from point a to point b quickly and easily.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Usage, usage, usage. If it's not being utilized, it will be a complete failure and vice versa.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tom Bulten

Aaron: Thanks for proposing GRuber (with a nod to Will Forte's character :-)). I love the idea of buying local.

A local rideshare company was launched a few years ago ( But, how does a local rideshare compete with the national companies for both riders and drivers? How many riders and drivers are necessary on a platform to reach a "critical mass" for sustainability?

Photo of Aaron Smith

Marketing will be a key component to this locally. People of Grand Rapids need to know there is a LOCAL rideshare option. They need to understand the impact their money has on our local economy and how using the local ride share service versus the national competitors can benefit Grand Rapids and local non-profits deeply.

Many rideshare drivers are already driving for multiple platforms while they are on the road. (Uber and Lyft primarily) so adding a third option for a city full of drivers with a lot of experience would be easy.

The City would also have a little more control of who the drivers are and set standards for said drivers & vehicles (likely better than Uber and Lyft do). If this is marketed properly, people of all ages will love knowing they are entering a City owned & approved vehicle with a responsible driver behind the wheel. If people know the City is overseeing and regulating this, we could increase overall usage by getting seniors involved and other skeptics that have not tried traditional ridesharing.

I would compare it to the marijuana business is Colorado. Data is proving that people are happy to pay more when they know exactly what they are getting and trust that it is the safest option. They don't want to take the chance on black market weed when 100% safe/verified weed is available for just a couple bucks more. They won't want to ride black market rideshare services either once a clean, crisp, GRuber driver & vehicle pull up to get them the first time.