SALEM - An affordable ride share is taking over the streets of Salem. For just $2 the Salem Skipper will take you anywhere you need to go within city limits.
They're the popular white and blue vans shuttling people around the city.
"Anything that's good for older adults is good for everybody and that's why everybody can ride the skipper," Salem for All-Ages co-chair, Patricia Zaido told WBZ-TV.
And from the number of rides that people have taken since it launched, it seems like everybody wants to ride the Skipper. It's an affordable ride share that available to anyone within Salem that started in 2020. Anyone 13 and older can take it.
"I have a car but, for example recently I had to bring it in for repairs, etc.. I brought it in and guess who drove me home? The skipper," Zaido said enthusiastically.
More than 400 people filled out the initial interest survey. Zaido was one of the leaders for getting the service. She doesn't drive at night anymore and uses the Skipper to get to her theater company.
"I have to go to the theater. I have to go to concerts. I have to go to lectures, etc., and I can take the skipper. That is such a gift to me," she explained.
And getting a ride on the skipper ride is easy. Just open the app, log in, choose your destination from the pre-set list or put in your own, and the wait time is typically under 20 minutes. They also have handicap accessible vans for those who need it. You may be paired with another rider, but they're typically going in the same direction as you.
"It's very affordable, intentionally so. We wanted to make sure it was a way for people to be able to save some money and get around Salem without worrying about having to find a parking space or having to rely on a car," Salem Mayor Dominick Pangallo told WBZ.
The majority of people who use it go to work, to and from after school activities, run errands or are tourists visiting town. It's designed to extend the reach of public transportation by covering gaps where the MBTA doesn't reach.
Salem State University students get six free evening and weekend rides every week after 7 p.m. on weekdays and any time on the weekend.
"My hope for the future is that this becomes regional. It would be so beneficial if we can do this for everybody," Zaido said.
At more than 170,000 rides just in Salem so far, the hype might just catch on.
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