A new mobile ride service will be speeding into Athens this summer.
Beginning the second week of June, Liberty Mobility Now will be offering transportation services to students and citizens in Athens.
Bret Whitaker, the southeast Ohio area manager for Liberty Mobile Now, said the service offers ride-sharing like Uber or Lyft but is different because the company also provides Mobility-as-a-Service.
“Liberty’s focus is on getting people with mobility needs where they need to go safely, no matter who gives the ride,” Whitaker said in an email. “The MaaS model we use is very conducive to partnerships and referring rides to whatever mode is most efficient at the time of need.”
The cost per ride in Athens County is $1.25 per mile, with a $1.10 booking fee. The company has statewide authority to operate in Ohio, so rides can be given to places outside of Athens County as well.
“In addition to our Liberty Driver and Liberty Passenger apps, we do have a call center for people who don’t have or want to use a smartphone,” Whitaker said in an email.
Trips can be booked on their website, LibertyMobilityNow.com, or by calling 844-745-4237.
Liberty Mobility Now decided to start in Athens because of the opportunities many departments at Ohio University provide, including the OU Innovation Center, Whitaker said.
“The Innovation Center has been crucial in connecting us with different forces in the community, and there’s been great engagement with the staff there, along with faculty across campus,” Whitaker said in an email.
Tanya Conrath, associate director of the Innovation Center, said the Center is looking forward to assisting Liberty Mobility in its efforts to solve the issue of rural transportation.
Liberty Mobility Now, Inc. is one of ten startup companies located at the Innovation Center, Conrath said.
“The Innovation Center provides valuable business incubation resources to fuel the economy in Athens, Ohio and the surrounding region,” Conrath said in an email.
“Safety is our top priority,” Whitaker said in an email. “Our drivers must pass a background check and a saliva-based drug test, and their vehicles must pass a safety inspection with a certified mechanic.”