(Source: World Tourism Tips)
No Surge?! No Way
It’s Friday night. You’re downtown. The baseball game just finished and it’s time to get home.
You pull open your ridesharing app and what do you see?
An 8 min drive home is going to cost you…$36?? With you and hundreds of other people all hailing drivers at the same time, surge pricing kicks in and you are going to pay more to get home than it did for you to go to the game.
It’s crazy and we’ve all been here.
There’s a new app-based transportation service that does away with surge pricing and puts the power back in the hands of riders.
Launched in August 2014 by Prime Time Shuttle CEO Rattan Joea, Hawthorne, CA-based Opoli is rapidly expanding throughout the state and giving riders a compelling alternative to the big-name, incumbent transportation platforms out there today.
Want To Get Picked Up In A Tesla? You Got It
Opoli’s service changes the app-based transportation game for both riders and drivers.
The most striking difference is that riders are able to propose a price that they want to pay to get from point A to point B. Drivers are then able to accept the price or offer a counter-proposal in real-time, creating a flexible, free-market transaction.
Riders can see all of the drivers who have either accepted the price or made counterproposals which then gives them the opportunity to decide who they want driving them to their destination and for how much. Driver and vehicle information are both available to riders before anything is scheduled, a key difference from other ride-sharing models.
Opoli has four levels of service:
- Economy Plus
- First Class (Tesla Model X)
- Private Van
With the Opoli app, riders are able to call rides for instant pick-up or set reservations for future dates. Rather than waiting curbside at the airport for their car to arrive, app users can have their driving waiting to greet them.
Also, although airport pick-ups are the company’s bread and butter, Opoli also provides daily commuter travel services within the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. This includes rides to and from work, the grocery store, extracurricular activities, etc.
Opoli drivers are all fully insured and fully licensed professionals who pay a monthly subscription fee to provide services on the platform, rather than losing a cut or commission on a per ride basis.
From Driving Shuttles To Companies
Opoli was founded by Rattan Joea, who first started driving airport shuttles in Los Angeles in the early 90s. In 1999, Joea purchased Prime Time Shuttle, a transportation company that was started in 1984 to help shuttle incoming visitors for the Summer Olympic games.
Joea’s experience building up Prime Time Shuttle eventually led him to the founding of Opoli where he sought to inject several features he believed were missing into the modern day ridesharing app landscape, including on-demand or scheduled pick-ups.
Opoli was born in the same market that Joea first started driving in almost 30 years ago and has since expanded up the California coastline to airports in the northern part of the state, including the San Francisco International Airport.
The company is currently privately held.
A Disruptor of Disruptors
With his deep experience in the world of transportation, Rattan Joea was able to jump right into the world of app-based transportation to create a compelling, viable alternative to existing platforms. By giving riders more control over the rides they reserve and drivers more say in what they are paid, Opoli has differentiated itself and built up a loyal user base.
This Untold story gives us a great example of a seasoned, deeply experienced and battle-tested business owner who has been able to adapt with the times and run alongside a few of today’s most successful tech companies. Joea knew what his Prime Time Shuttle consumers valued and was able to develop an individual rider-focused platform that incorporates many of those same capabilities, but is packaged in a slightly different manner.
Next time you are flying through LAX, be sure to book an Opoli driver and see how you like proposing your own rates!
September 11, 2018 | Chris Fruci | Untold Business Writer