A new transportation service has started in the Boothbay peninsula. Betsy “T” Thibault of Boothbay Harbor is the region’s first Uber driver. Uber is a world-wide ride sharing program started in 2009. Passengers use an App to request a ride and fees are determined by demand. Riders can pay using cash, credit card or Apple and Google pay options.
Thibault grew up in Southport and was looking for a new vocation earlier this year. She was a Maine Foodie Tour guide in Boothbay Harbor before medical problems forced her to seek a new occupation. She has Lyme disease which made the 1.5-mile tour walk problematic. Her brother mentioned tourists and summer residents were always looking for rides, so Thibault decided to check out a career in the emerging ride sharing industry.
She tried Lyft, a similar ride sharing program, but preferred Uber. She has been accepting rides for the past month. Her most frequent destinations are downtown Boothbay Harbor, Tug Boat Inn, Robinson’s Wharf, Linekin Bay, Red Cup, Mine Oyster and Brown’s. In the first weeks of her new job, Thibault and her 2005 maroon Kia Optima have been busy. “The ping seems to go off a million times, but it’s more like 70 trips in the first couple of weeks. As a driver, I take a bit from my previous job as a tour guide and tell my passengers about the area and its history,” she said.
As a native, Thibault knows the area well, but there are times she needs some technological assistance. “The biggest challenge so far is my GPS doesn’t always work. So I have to call them and ask where they are and where they want to go,” Thibault said. She attributes Uber’s rapid rise in the industry to its new way of doing business. “The main difference between Uber and a taxi is that Uber’s clientele doesn’t want to use a taxi. An Uber driver uses their own vehicle and passengers like that. Uber is also a little cheaper, too,” she said.
She is also working with local businesses in hopes of becoming a food delivery service.