Rachel's Rides provides alternative to taxis

Rafael Abramowitz '14 purchased business from classmate, relaunched in the fall

Photo/Clara Gray '15

Rachel's Rides owner Rafael Abramowitz

Rafael Abramowitz ‘14 knew he wouldn’t get rich by purchasing Rachel’s Rides Co., a Brandeis-exclusive car service, from his classmate.

But it’s already provided him with a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, community-building and environmentalism.

The licensed livery service, which he bought from Rachel Karpoff ’12, is available only to the Brandeis community, or those visiting Brandeisians, and offered at rates Abramowitz guarantees to be lower than local taxi companies. He also encourages the option of sharing rides with fellow students for an even lower rate, the coordination of which he tackles himself, with the aid of a Google doc.

“I thought it would promote unity,” says Abramowitz, a business major. “It’s something that’s just ours,” just for Brandeis students.

After purchasing the company, he spent last summer retooling the brand and its online presence – new logo, website, Twitter and Facebook accounts – and re-launched in September of last year. He kept the name, however, to build on the business his predecessor had generated.

Students need only send him an email with a time and destination or fill out a few simple fields on his website; and he enters the information into his spreadsheet and contacts clients to negotiate times.

“If you schedule a trip to the airport for 2 o’clock, and someone else schedules one for 2:30, obviously I can’t do both,” he says. “But I’ll email both of you and say, ‘Hey, can you meet in the middle?’ and then it’s up to you.”

A ride to Logan International Airport for one person, for example, runs $45, $26 for two passengers and $18 for three, and he requests 48-hours advance booking. A single rider saves $13.50 on the trip, according to Taxifinder.com.

Sharing can be good for the wallet, not to mention students’ social lives. On a recent trip to a movie theater, Abramowitz was surprised to learn that two students in the full car lived in the same Ziv quad but had never seen each other before.

“My goal is to have a full car on every trip,” thereby taking other cars off the road, says Abramowitz, who in addition to being the company’s owner and president is one of its three drivers. “It’s better for the environment.”

The company recently serviced its 275th customer. It schedules a minimum of 10 rides per week.

“As a student, I knew there was a need,” Abramowitz says. “Not only is this cheaper, but we’ve all had that one experience with a bad cab driver. This is friendlier. We’re all Brandeis students.”

Abramowitz, who comes from a family of businessmen, says it seemed like the perfect time to try his hand at a new enterprise, when he has the support of classmates and professors.

“I want people to follow in my footsteps,” Abramowitz says. “If you want to be an entrepreneur, what better time to try than in college?”

The last scheduled trip for this week is at 10:50 a.m. Friday. Service will resume following spring break.

Categories: Alumni, Business, Student Life

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