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Is Jamaica ready for a ride-sharing app boom?

Published:Saturday | September 18, 2021 | 12:05 AM

Ray Lee, the owner of the Aryvve App, is confident that this application will direct Jamaica’s transportation system in the right direction because of its versatile features.

He argues that, while working in the hospitality industry for 32 years, he noticed that transportation wasn’t being optimised on the north coast. “I’ve seen at hotels where just about four or five drivers will sit in the parking lot waiting for someone who wants to go somewhere to come out.”

“I have also been to hotels where people walk up to the front desk requesting that a receptionist call up a cab. Now, this application allows passengers to get rides from motorists. So they don’t have to go to the front desk, they just go on their phone, tap on the app and look for the closest driver,” he stated.

Also, Lee adds that the transport sector needs revolutionising because motorists have been doing the same thing. “Legal Information is still being recorded in enormous books about driver’s credentials when these can be automated in the application. Thus modernisation is paramount.”

The purpose of the Aryvve app

He stated that the Aryvve app was customised solely for Jamaica and, as a Jamaican, he wanted to ensure that the app satisfies the population. “While it operates like the Uber app, we had to customize it, so drivers have to upload their police record, insurance, driver’s licences, and registration.”

Having understood the Jamaican culture he grew up in, Lee believes that his story will help others to appreciate the reason behind this masterpiece. “While going to Kingston College, I had to take the bus and conductors often asked schoolers to stand up. So, with this experience in mind, I built this app so people can travel in luxury and as they desire.”

He believes that there is power in understanding Jamaican people and that is what his business is based solely on. “Passengers are less likely to travel in a white plate vehicle, but rather the public passenger’s vehicles (PPV) with the red plate. Fortunately, the Aryvve app only has PPV on our application. This way, passengers can feel secure.”

He believes that people are into this ride-sharing app because it offers comfort and protection. “People are interested in the Aryvve app because they want more options. So when you talk to some passengers, they will pay an extra 500 dollars to be in a vehicle that is not packed. They will pay to travel in comfort and for the reliability and convenience because, if the rain is falling, they don’t have to try fanning down a vehicle but can use the app at their fingertips.”

How to use the Aryvve app

The app is cashless, so passengers are just required to enter their credit card or debit card details for the transaction to be processed. “The app also offers third-party ordering so individuals can order a ride for anyone in their contacts and they also get to see a photo of the driver and vehicle.”

“The app also uses GPS tracking, thus it’s only when a passenger is in a Wi-Fi location that they can request pick up; that way, everything is always public,” he said.

Aryvve is currently operating in Portmore and Kingston and St Andrew, but most of the traction is in Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios. However, Lee mentions that the service will soon be available in other areas such as St Elizabeth and Portland.

He mentions that the Aryvve app is a lot more beneficial than the traditional way of operating because it tracks when a driver’s licence will expire. “We programmed the app to remove drivers until they get a new licence, and the same procedure applies for insurance and registration. They also can see how much money they earn for the day and their pay cheque.”

The impact of the pandemic on this operation

“When people didn’t understand what was going on with the pandemic, the business was affected. But after the protocols were stated, people recognised social distance so they started requesting rides to transport them or their family,” he added.

Lee states that, since more people are looking for options where they can get around without feeling at risk, he will embark on a marketing initiative with a huge partner. “This will entail using the various social media platforms to spread awareness about the app so people can capitalise on the purpose of this application.”