During the summer of 2019, Otiniel Ribeiro was having car issues that left him stranded on the side of the road, often having to wait several hours for AAA to show up.
“That experience left a bad taste in my mouth,” Ribeiro says.
And he isn’t alone. In the last few months, many AAA members have expressed how they also waited anywhere from an hour or more. And in some instances, roadside assistance was a no show.
All of which explains why Ribeiro teamed up with his brother Celso to create Roadr, a roadside assistance app on a mission to cut the response time for stranded drivers in half. The Ribeiro brothers launched its pilot program in Los Angeles earlier this month and they already have 3,500 downloads.
“Roadr is similar to other ride sharing apps that we currently have in the market,” Ribeiro tells dot.LA. “It’s the Uber for roadside assistance.”
And in that way, Ribeiro guarantees that any roadside service a person selects will be coming from within a 5 or 10 mile radius, cutting down the time it takes for providers to reach the driver.
Requesting service is similar to requesting an Uber or Lyft ride. First you select the type of service, confirm your pick up location, enter your vehicle and jot down any notes you want the service provider to know. Once the request is sent, the driver is able to track when the service provider is on the move along with the ability to call or text them.
The app is free to download for iOS and android users and currently the company offers a $100 yearly subscription which includes two free services of choice and a 30% discount off of each following service. For those that don’t want to commit to a full year, Roadr also provides consumers with an option to pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.99 that includes 1 free service as well as the 30% discount.
For now, people who use the app have access to all of Roadr’s emergency services which include: towing, a tire change, refueling, unlocking your car, getting a jump for your car and Ribeiro says Roadr will soon roll out an EV charging feature.
“We're trying to create a one stop shop,” Ribeiro says. “We're connecting the dots between the mechanics, service providers and insurance companies.”
With Roadr, drivers can also schedule specific services in advance. For example, let’s say you’re flying in from a business trip and you park your car at the airport with a nearly empty gas tank. Roadr offers a service in which a person can request a specialist to come and fill their gas tank for them at the airport upon their return from their trip.
Ribeiro says that this scheduling feature is to ensure drivers safety because now they don’t have to worry about having to drive to a gas station not knowing if they will make it.
The other demographic Roadr is hoping to serve is the uninsured. According to a 2021 report from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 16.6% of California drivers are uninsured, placing the state as the 10th highest uninsured rate. That of course means that those drivers don’t qualify to receive free services from AAA, Geico and AllState, even in an emergency.
Which is why all you need to use Roadr’s services is a credit card to pay for any individual request that the app offers. And since the Roadr app uses geolocation, Ribeiro touts that unlike its competitors, a driver that is stuck in the mountains with no cell reception will have no issue requesting for service through the app as long as Roadr is servicing that city.
“The goal is to have (Roadr) service providers everywhere,” Ribeiro says. “So we're using this pilot to not only test it out and get direct feedback from our early users to then go full force and go nationwide and ultimately deploy to international markets as well.”
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