A few weeks ago I heard about a new rideshare company called Opoli. Opoli is a company that connects professional fully licensed commercial drivers with passengers. It’s kind of like an on demand Uber Black car service but with a much wider variety of vehicles and pricing. Like Uber, everything is cashless but 100% of the fare goes straight to the driver.
Being a rideshare blogger, this company obviously piqued my interest and after adding them to my Rideshare List I reached out to them via Twitter and started chatting with their social media rep. At the time, I was actually looking to book a ride home for right after our wedding. Most of the limo companies I called required a 3 hour minimum which seemed kind of silly considering we only needed a 30 minute ride. But since you can reserve rides with Opoli, it seemed like the perfect solution.
Booking a Ride
One of the biggest pitfalls to services like Lyft and Uber is that you can’t reserve a car ahead of time. Normally I don’t mind that, but with something like wedding transportation I didn’t want to risk not being able to get a ride for my new bride and I once our wedding was over (or paying some ridiculous surge pricing on a Black Car). With Opoli though, you can submit a ride request for pick-up right now or at any point in the future.
As of today (7/14/14), they only have an iPhone app so I had to use my fiancee’s phone to make the reservation. I switched from iPhone to Android a couple years ago and I definitely prefer the latter, yet it seems like a lot of start-ups develop iPhone apps first. I might be a little biased but I feel like more and more people are using Androids these days so I get kind of annoyed when the iPhone app comes out first. I’m sure there Android app is on the way though.
Finding a Driver
The interface is pretty intuitive: you enter your pick-up location, drop-off location, number of passengers and a recommended bid will show up. Opoli is unique in the sense that once you make your offer, drivers have a few minutes to either accept, reject or counter your bid. This feature is nice for passengers since you get to choose from a wide variety of vehicles and pricing.
The recommended price was $52 but I got offers all the way up to $120. Even though Opoli is pretty new, I was impressed with the wide variety of cars available. They offered everything from Escalades and Tahoes to Teslas and Town Cars. We actually ended up booking a Mercedes sedan for $90. I probably could have counter-offered a bit lower but since I was using a promo code, I didn’t mind paying the driver a little bit extra.
My only complaint about this part of the process is that some drivers only had one or two pictures of their car. Most drivers don’t have reviews yet since Opoli is so new, so there wasn’t much to compare drivers on other than pictures of their car. There were three town cars that came up at the same price but I had no way to differentiate between the three. It would be helpful if they added the year of the car and standard front, rear, side and inside pictures.
Getting Picked Up
Our wedding ended around 10:30 pm and we were pretty much ready to go by 11 pm. I had scheduled the ride for 11:10 pm and I was getting worried that maybe our driver would be late and we would have to sit there on the side of the road in our wedding attire for 20 minutes. But when I called the driver just after 11 pm, he told me was just about to pull in.
We got into the car at 11:05 pm and the driver asked, “So were you guys at a wedding or something?” I thought he was joking at first but he was serious haha. I told him, “Yea, we just got married” 🙂
I was pretty impressed with the punctuality of our driver, the car we rode in and the driver’s professionalism. The picture online did not do this car justice. It was a beautiful newer model Mercedes sedan and it had a TON of leg room in the back. It was a very smooth and relaxing ride and the driver was very courteous, not too talkative but still friendly. I’m also glad the driver showed up early because I can imagine that the type of person willing to pay $90 for a 30 minute ride does not have the time or patience to wait around for a late driver.
I think the coolest part about Opoli is that you get to compare prices and vehicles. I was a little confused by Opoli’s marketing strategy at first because their website states: “OPOLI drivers are commercially licensed and fully insured to transport commercial passengers. All are dedicated professionals. No amateurs trying to make extra cash with the family car.” which seems to be taking a jab at UberX and Lyft drivers.
But with the prices Opoli is operating at, they are in more direct competition with UberBlack and UberSUV type drivers than the lower tier UberX and Lyft drivers like me. If I’m looking for a ride to the bars on a Saturday night, I’m not going to call Opoli, I’m going to call UberX or more likely Lyft. I have never been a huge fan of UberBlack or UberSUV because they are just so damn expensive (you can get two UberX’s for less than an UberSUV). But I like that Opoli gives you quotes from multiple drivers so that as a passenger you can shop around a little bit and find the best deal.
I don’t think Opoli will be a part of my daily or even weekly rideshare arsenal of apps but I could definitely see myself using it once in a while. I’m guessing their target audience is more the wealthy professional or businessman/woman type client but that is definitely not me. No matter how much money I make, I’m pretty happy riding in the back of an UberX or Lyft. But for those special occasions or when you want something a little nicer, I would definitely recommend giving Opoli a try.
Readers, what do you think about this new rideshare company? Could you see yourself taking a ride with Opoli or does the price barrier just seem too high?
You can also get $25 off your first ride with Opoli by using my referral link.
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