It’s one of those days when your car breaks down, and you and your pets can’t wait to get home after a tiring day at the park.
For the first time ever, you tried to book an Uber ride, but the driver balked at having your pets onboard the car. When you tried to book Lyft, or even Grab, the same thing happened, and now, hours after, with no success, you’re exhausted and left with tired pets that are dying to go home.
You aren’t alone. In fact, Aparna Srinivasan, a parent to two dogs, found herself in a similar situation a while back and described the experience as “a total disaster”.
Not wanting to go through the same thing again, Aparna reached out to her now co-founder, John Betley, to establish SpotOn, a ride-sharing service that makes traveling with your furry companions easier and less hassle-free.
“We are a ride-hailing service very similar to the existing ones that are out there, but we’re pet-friendly. All our drivers are vetted to be pet-friendly, so you are guaranteed a ride from your house to the park. And all you have to do is download our app, request a ride, and the perfect perfect driver will come out and pick you up. And basically, it’s tailored to your situation.”
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As the only ride-hailing company that’s equipped and licensed to take not only humans but also pets as passengers, SpotOn offers a ride-sharing service in the five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding areas.
Aparna, who also serves as the founder and CEO of SpotOn, shared that the service makes it possible to match drivers with passengers who request rides using SpotOn’s mobile app. So, whether you want to offset your costs, cover your bills, or fund your dreams, driving on SpotOn will give you the freedom to be your own boss.
“We actually work with a lot of vets and groomers, and hopefully, we can work with a lot more to do pet-only rides. So, we know these days, everybody’s sitting on Zoom all day long with meetings back to back. But your pet still needs to be taken care of. They need to go to the groomer, they need to go to the vet. With our service, you can simply request a ride specifically for your pets, so this is a pet-only ride. And again, the perfect driver will come to pick it up, take him to his appointment. And if you want them back in your house, then you have to request a round trip, but yeah, we can drop them back off,”
As a ride-hailing company, Aparna and her team at SpotOn makes it a point to provide a customer-oriented service that takes care not only of the passenger but also the pet and the driver—all in one shot.
So, if, for instance, you want to go somewhere with all your pets, all you need to do is request a ride on SpotOn’s application and inform the system which pets are coming with you. You don’t have to worry about them staying safe during the entire ride since SpotOn will provide you with an appropriate car that has back seat covers to mitigate pet wear and tear, as well as a driver who already has an idea about your pets and has been trained on how to handle their transportation safely.
The company is also licensed, bonded, and insured, so that’s one less worry for safety-focused passengers.
According to Aparna,
“We have safety restraints to keep the pet safe during travel. And in some of the bigger cars, we have GPS-trackable smart crates. So if you are doing a pet-only ride, you would hopefully get one of those cars, and we put the pet into the create, and you can track it obviously on the app… But we also send a message—a GPS-stamped message—to you when the pets have been dropped off and where they are.”
One thing you have to take note of, though, is that you need to book at least two hours in advance if you need to avail yourself of SpotOn’s service. Since the company is still not as huge as Uber or Lyft, they don’t yet have that many drivers who can roam around New York City on demand. However, their goal is to grow the business, so hopefully, they will be able to service the entire city in the foreseeable future.
“Well, at least, you know, you have two hours that you can book a ride and get a ride back. And we have made some adjustments. If there happens to be a driver close by, then we do make those adjustments and say, ‘Hey, we know you book your ride for 2:20. We have a driver that’s 40 minutes away. Can they come to pick you up early?’ So we do make those adjustments if and when necessary.”
Despite her non-tech-savvy background, Aparna attributed the foundation of SpotOn to the “disastrous” experience she had, saying,
“I definitely spend quite a bit of money on them (her pets). And it dawned on me. I’m like, ‘Why don’t we get the same type of service? What do we have to do? Play roulette, you know, do a horse and pony show, show them how amazing my dogs are in a car.’ Then we get into the car if we get the ride. And then they’re like, ‘Oh, your dog can’t sit here. It’s drooling here.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, you know what? I’m thankful for the ride, but you’re really treating us like a third-rate citizen.’ So, those are the things that were going through my head.”
Wanting to make the service accessible to any and all pet parents, Aparna envisions a future where SpotOn takes the pet-friendly riding service all over the world. They’re already looking at expanding into New Jersey so that, eventually, they can start offering their service to the metropolitan areas in the country.
As someone who is also passionate about the mission of shelters and animal rescue groups, Aparna and her staff at SpotOn also implemented a program called “Take a Ride, Save a Life”.
“It’s very simple. If you take a ride with us and use a coupon code from one of our rescue partners or shelters, then you get a free ride from us to take an adoptable pet to the doctor’s office, or maybe, to its forever home.”
With your pets’ (and other passengers’) safety being SpotOn’s priority, it’s safe to say that the company has what it takes to reach its long-term goal. So, if you also want to get from and to your destinations with your pets with ease, SpotOn’s pet-friendly policies may just make your rides worth your while.
Want to know more about SpotOn?
Check out their website at https://www.spoton.pet/.
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