Having started with a service that allows customers to pick up and drive designated BMW cars in the city, ReachNow is testing a ride-hailing service in which users secure rides through an app.
BMW’s ReachNow is launching an Uber-like car service in Seattle early next year.
Customers will be able to hail a BMW 3 series car using the ReachNow app and take it around downtown Seattle. As the service grows, so will the number of cars and geographic areas, said ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield.
ReachNow first announced a driving service in March, when it launched its rideshare program in Seattle. The company’s headquarters are in Seattle, which was the first to get BMW cars for rent on the city’s streets. Customers can unlock a car with their app and drive throughout most of Seattle for 49 cents per minute.
The service has since expanded into Portland and, as of Tuesday, into Brooklyn, N.Y. ReachNow has about 1,000 cars across all three locations, including about 500 in Seattle.
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The company will test the new ride-hailing service, known as ReachNow Ride, to invited customers beginning in December, and it plans to expand to the public next year. ReachNow isn’t announcing how much it will cost yet, saying it is still testing the pricing.
The city of Seattle confirmed that ReachNow is in the process of getting permits to allow the service.
Unlike Uber or Lyft, drivers will use ReachNow-owned cars, not their own vehicles. The same cars used for its ride-sharing program will be used for ReachNow Ride, though in a smaller number — at least at first.
“Seattle is ground zero where these things are going to get tested,” Banfield said.
Ride drivers, who will be independent contractors, are being vetted individually, he said. They will work shifts throughout the day, accepting rides through an app for drivers.
ReachNow announced several other new features Tuesday, including the ability to reserve a car for dayslong trips. In addition, owners of 2016 or 2017-model Minis will be able to “rent out” their cars through ReachNow.
ReachNow is live in most of Seattle, though it hasn’t expanded south of Columbia City and north of Northgate. Customers can also drive cars to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and park in a lot nearby, with a shuttle to the terminal.