Tragic vehicle accident in Solana Beach area leads to Round-Trip 101 service
By Diane Y. WelchTimothy Ricker knew that fate was calling when one memorable night, almost two years ago, he witnessed a tragic accident on Interstate 5 by the Lomas Santa Fe exit. A sedan had plowed into the back of an SUV, which then rolled over, killing the front passenger, a 24-year-old woman who was six months pregnant. Ricker immediately pulled over to help. He climbed through the SUV’s car window and aided in pulling the female away from the wreckage. Sadly, the woman and her fetus did not survive.
A tragic accident, caused by a drunk driver, thus became the catalyst that urged Ricker to move forward with implementing a business plan for a unique transportation service, a concept that had been brewing in his mind for about a decade.
“It was a big motivating factor to me finally getting the company off the ground,” he said.
This service, Round-Trip 101, uses compact, collapsible motorcycles that transport company drivers to meet up with clients who require chauffeur service. Mostly the service has been used for clients who perhaps partied more than they anticipated. The Round-Trip 101 driver meets the client at a restaurant or bar, folds up the motorcycle, places it in a duffle bag, pops it in the client’s vehicle trunk, and then drives the client’s vehicle and the client safely back to their home destination.
Launched this August the business serves North County coastal communities from Carlsbad to Del Mar along the Highway 101 corridor. It is also eco-friendly, utilizing a small fleet of battery-powered motorcycles manufactured in Italy. The bike can travel about 45 miles in range before the battery needs recharging, at an operational cost of pennies a day.
“Soon we’ll be utilizing solar power to recharge our batteries but, even so, we are still the only green transportation company in California that has zero emissions,” said Ricker.
The service costs a lot less than a taxi or limousine and also saves a lot of fuel.
“If someone had to leave their car at a bar, grab a taxi home, and then return to retrieve their car later, this would amount to about six trips if you take into account the roaming taxi that picks them up,” Ricker explained.
Typically, most people do not take a taxi to a bar or restaurant, said Ricker.
“They tend to drive themselves in their own vehicles.”
In view of this, Ricker started out by marketing directly with the bars and restaurants. “I realized that if I did not have their support this business model would not work.”
Their response has been very positive.
“Tim has a great, innovative service that has given our customers an extra option for transportation to get them home safely,” said Adam Carruth, owner of Carruth Winery in Solana Beach.
“It’s been so easy to work with Round-Trip 101, even though this is a brand new concept, our customers who use the service give us great feedback,” said Meryl Klemow from Solana Beach’s Belly Up. “They say it’s a better option than getting a taxi.”
Round-Trip 101 services have been used by clients at local eateries such as the Brigantine, and En Fuego in Del Mar, and many more.
As business grows Ricker plans to have a philanthropic component to his business model. “I’m aiming to put 1 percent of revenues into a separate account for a local nonprofit that supports either a healthy eco-system or water-system,” said Ricker, an avid surfer who grew up in the Bay Area.
Round-Trip 101’s typical client is a responsible, educated professional who leads a busy life, has things to do the next day and cannot have the inconvenience of not having their vehicle, said Ricker. The rate of service is a $20 arrival fee, plus $3 a mile. For those who work locally in the service industry there is a special 50 percent discount.
The 24-hour service includes airport pick-up or drop-off, doctors or surgery appointments, golf events, and winery, bar and restaurant pick-ups. There are also special daytime rates for seniors. Call (760) 500-5000 for more information or visit www.round-trip101.com
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