MANCHESTER — After Max Ahmad unsuccessfully lobbied a few years back for the state to require ride-share services to meet the same requirements as his limo company, he didn’t sit back and sulk.
He looked for solutions.
“If you can’t beat em, join em,” the owner of Bluesky Transportation said during a recent interview.
Ahmad, along with his wife, Saverna, and a team of others, developed an app — Rydelinx — that they hope will compete with ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft.
Riders can download their app to register at rydelinx.com. The app will show riders information on the drivers and the vehicles that will pick them up.
Drivers sign up at Rydelinx and set their own price for what they want to charge per mile.
“They’re just using our platform, so we felt that it was only fair to say how much do you want to charge per mile, so you can pretty much be on your own terms, be your own boss,” said Saverna Ahmad, a former senior user experience engineer at Oracle + Dyn. “But at the same time, they should be smart enough to know the market and the competitive prices.”
Ride-sharing companies have eaten an estimated 70 percent of their limo company’s business, said Saverna Ahmad.
For Rydelinx, the Ahmads received advice from Alpha Loft, an organization that works with nurturing startup businesses. They learned tips on budgeting and honing an elevator pitch.
Max Ahmad “has deep experience in the space, and is bringing a new twist to the old concept,” said Joshua Cyr, director of education and acceleration at Alpha Loft. “If that sounds familiar, it is because a lot of new hot businesses are actually new-business-model twists on old ideas. Hopefully, this resonates with customers and partners and grows.”
The Rydelinx app caters to drivers of vehicles for hire and of vehicles with commercial insurance, its website says.
Rydelinx currently counts more than 100 drivers signed up in a dozen states across the country, with more than 130 riders registered and growing. Ahmad is hoping for a million registered riders.
Rydelinx takes an 18 percent cut of each ride and is aimed at trips of 25 miles or more, he said.
Other ride-sharing services use several factors to compute driver pay.
At Lyft, “a rider agrees to upfront pricing, and a driver is paid based on a base rate, time and distance, tips and other incentives,” said Lyft spokesman Eric Smith.
He said the company’s revenue as a percentage of bookings was 26.8 percent in 2018, he said. Those numbers included revenue from things, such as electric scooters and bike rentals, as well as car trips.
Uber, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, says on its website that duration, distance and vehicle type are factors used to calculate driver pay.
According to Ridester, which shares information about ride-share users and drivers, Lyft takes a 20-percent cut on fares plus the entire booking fee. Uber’s cut is more than 25 percent of a customer’s total fare, according to Ridester.
Ahmad said Rydelinx will also help limo drivers who have a one-way fare pick up a return passenger.
Bluesky drivers dropping a passenger at Logan International Airport in Boston would return to New Hampshire empty “99.9 percent of the time,” Ahmad said.
Uber drops a “passenger (at Logan) for $85. We drop a passenger and we charge $130,” he said. But because Uber drivers can turn on their app and find another passenger, they can make money on both legs of the trip.
Until Rydelinx, Ahmad’s drivers didn’t have such an app. So he decided to create one.
“Rather than me telling a driver what to charge, let them decide what to charge,” he said.