Marian Hopkins (left) receives a ride from RidePlus, a transportation business that does door-to-door service.

Travis Roemhild/AFN

When ALEX reduced the number of routes due to budget cuts last year, it left some residents in the cold.

Since that time an alternative, door-to-door transportation service opened to Ahwatukee Foothills seniors and their business has grown in the past year.

RidePlus, based out of Phoenix, enters its second year in the market and for its first anniversary, they will be booking $1, one-way rides.

In order to take advantage of the offer, customers call to book their ride on Saturday, Sept. 17 but the ride can be booked for any day between Sept. 19 and Oct. 30. Ordinarily, riders pay $3 for a pickup and $9.75 for every 15 minutes of drive time.

In the year since its inception, RidePlus has expanded from four to six vehicles, which are Scion xBs.

The unique thing about the company is that its drivers are all medical assistant graduates. The founder said this puts them in a different category from taxis and other services.

"Our passengers are not cargo, we treat them like human beings and I think that sets us apart in the area of customer service," Edward Hoffman said. "We encourage drivers to have more personal interactions with our riders. And because they are (medical assistant graduates) there's that trust there too."

While seniors may be a larger portion of their business, Hoffman said they also cater to families whose children need a ride home from school.

"We have families who ride with us everyday," he said. "The people who have committed to us, I think that is a testament to our service."

They also offer ride plans for customers who require a regular service. Hoffman said that although the majority of their riders book in advance, they do offer what he calls "on-demand" transportation.

To book your $1 ride, call 1-877-743-3090 on Sept. 17 and ask for the RidePlus $1 anniversary rate. Visit www.RidePlus.net for more information.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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