One Michigan man is putting his own spin on the mainstream ridesharing service Uber; rather than picking customers up in a car, Timothy Hochstedler scoops them up in his horse and cart.
According to reports, Mr Hochstedler is not affiliated with Uber in any way – he just likes the name.
“Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber. We can deliver people to their front doorsteps,” explained the 32-year-old.
At just $5 per ride, the horse-drawn Uber is a hit with locals and visitors alike. Amish Uber rider Steve Phelps told US TV station WWMT this was his “first time Ubering”, while his wife Becky Phelps added, “I don’t think there’s Uber down here, so it’s pretty cool. It gives people that option that can’t drive or don’t want to drive or shouldn’t drive.”
For Mr Hochstedler, the Amish Uber is an opportunity to get to know visitors while offering them a chance to take in the tiny, quaint village of Colon (home to just 1,153 citizens as of 2016) without distraction.
“Most of them aren’t from Colon,” said Mr Hochstedler when asked about his customers, “but the Colon people have given me a few options like: would you give me a ride to Curly’s? Would you go to my house? And, yeah I’d do that.”
Besides experiencing life in the slow lane, Amish Uber patrons have the opportunity to get to know their vehicle. “He loves people,” Mr Hochstedler said of his horse. “He’s a Morgan. A Morgan is a people’s horse. They love giving you a kiss or whatever.”
“It was fascinating. It’s not an activity you typically associate with the Amish,” Colon visitor Bruce Jordan told WWMT after taking his grandchildren for a ride.
Of course if you ever find yourself in Colon, you’ll have to flag Mr Hochstedler down like a cab – he may call himself an Uber, but you won’t be seeing him with a mobile phone anytime soon.
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