While Uber is set to suspend operations in Broward County on July 31, a similar ride-sharing smartphone app sends designated drivers to take your drunk ass home.
The app is called BeMyDD, and instead of sending drivers with cars, it sends drivers to drive your car. It sounds weird, but it's a legitimate service in Florida that's been around for about five years, according to Alexa Milkovich, a spokeswoman for BeMyDD.
"It's 'apples to oranges' to Uber," Milkovich says. "For BeMyDD, we actually drive the customer's vehicle,"
This is how it works: If you're capable enough of using a smartphone while drunk, you can summon a designated driver using the app, and they send two drivers to your location — one being the DD and the other being the driver who drives the DD. The app is available for iPhones and Android smartphones.
If you plan ahead, Milkovich says, you can have a driver for the whole evening, kind of like a personal chauffeur. She says it's better than Uber for this purpose because you can request the same driver.
"With Uber, you don't know who you're going to get," Milkovich says.
But like Uber, it costs money. The rate for a personal driver in South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties — is $18.50 per hour. For pickup service, it costs $25 plus $3.45 per mile. Credit cards can be registered through the app's website. The company also encourages users to tip the drivers.
And also like Uber, the drivers are like subcontractors. Uber calls them "driver-partners." The drivers are vetted with a two-phase interview process. After they apply to an advertisement, candidates do a face-to-face interview, usually over Skype or FaceTime. If they get hired, they undergo a background check.
Requirements are strict. A driver can have no more than two moving violations, such as a speeding ticket or red light ticket, in the past two years, Milkovich said. But once hired and approved, drivers can work their own hours.
The company operates in 31 states and 76 cities across the United States. BeMyDD started around five years ago and has been slowly building its base.
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So if it's been around for five years, why haven't we heard of it? Milkovich says it didn't do a lot of advertising at first because the company focused its first few years on expanding; it simply relied on word of mouth.
So if you've relied on Uber to taxi your crew around Fort Lauderdale for a night out, you're out of luck for now.
"We fill that void and get your car home too," Milkovich said.