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Motör wants to be Seattle’s super local, safe take on ride-hailing apps

Motör drivers are just like you and me (Image: Motör)

Motör drivers are just like you and me (Image: Motör)

Need a ride to get around Capitol Hill tonight? The creator of Motör has lived in Seattle his entire life and wanted to create a rideshare that allows his community to get to where they’re going efficiently, safely, and affordably.

Sotirios Rebelos comes from a long line of cab drivers. Both of his parents met while driving cabs in downtown Seattle at the Elephant Car Wash. When he read on a community Facebook thread that service industry workers didn’t feel safe walking home at night after their shifts, he decided to do something about it.

“We are drivers, not an app,” Rebelos said.  “The app is secondary. We’re not trying to upscale and dominate globally, we are just trying to give rides to the neighborhood and we need an app to do it.”

12933111_1721449068111334_2873591697756161532_nHe started driving in 1995 and operated a taxi company before starting Motör which first released an early version of its app this summer. Rebelos saw the landscape for driving changing and wanted to be on the evolutionary side of things.

“We don’t have the big guns,” Rebelos said. “We’re just like hey look this is a fair price, all the time, and make sure the community is safe.”

In 2015, CHS reported that rideshare driver was the the most commonly opened business category around Central Seattle that year. After giving drivers the right to unionize in late 2015, the fight against unionization has flared up in late 2016 as Seattle pounds out the rules for how it will work.

Motör is busy trying to grow as the debate rolls on. Currently, Rebelos is trying to recruit at least 180 drivers before fully releasing the app to the public. In order to drive for the company, drivers need to have a 4.8 or higher rating on Uber and Lyft and will be subject to an extensive face-to-face interview process. He can always guarantee the hand-picked drivers have been through a thorough inspection and vetting process.

“Drivers have to fit the character of being safe and wanting to help the community,” he said.

He also favors drivers who won’t be strangers to the neighborhood.

“You’re not going to just get into some car,” Rebelos said. “More than likely there’s less than three degrees separation between you and our drivers.”

Rebelos values that Motör helps make it safer for his community to get around town.

“Everyone should get a ride and it should be simple,” he said.

For more information on the app visit their Facebook page at, or to apply to drive, fill out this form.

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27 thoughts on “Motör wants to be Seattle’s super local, safe take on ride-hailing apps

  1. Great to see a local option, but it might be easier to “Never worry about inferior drivers or safety” if their website included any information about their screening or insurance policies.

  2. Nice caption. “Motör drivers are just like you and me.” White, Ms. Lopez? Considering the demographics of the other services’ drivers, your promotion of Motör as a safe alternative seems to carry its implications.

    • My intention wasn’t to pick a fight. It was meant as a gentle correction to the idea that the white woman pictured represents greater safety than the person who might show up in an uber. @jseattle if I missed your satire in that context, I apologize, but if your response is oblivious to that context, I do not. @Shermanpotter if you aren’t viewing everything through a racial lens in the past month, you’re not recognizing the history being written.

    • Funny, when I read that I didn’t think of race at all. I thought of someone who was “just like me” in that they lived in or near the neighborhood, and wasn’t a professional driver. Just your run-of-the-mill neighbor who wanted to pick up some extra money with their car. Yes, that also describes lots of Über and Lyft drivers. But if I read the same thing about them, I wouldn’t have immediately thought of race, either.

  3. Isnt this the same guy that had crown black car before? Is that gone? I stopped using them after the 3rd whif trying to get a ride.

  4. There doesn’t seem to be any significant difference between this new business and the established ones. How many ride-share services do we need?

  5. isn’t this the same guy that did black crown and ripped off all of his drivers, then killed that app and started this one up? I can’t find a business license for summon motor or motor in the seattle business licenses or state licenses. was once in an accident in one of his crown cars, he didn’t have insurance then, probably don’t have insurance for this either. same bullshit, different name. buyer beware.

    • I’ve been driving with him for the last 3 1/2 years since Crown. I don’t know a single Driver he ripped off, and we all carry individual comercial insurance. He sold Crown to a sedan company in Texas expanding into Seattle. United Sedan service. You might want to look up the proper LLC name for licensing. Motor Transport LLC. Is this an Uber troll? Lol

  6. One day a couple months ago I was leaving a friend’s house on about 27th and Madison at 3-4AM after a night of doing mushrooms and having a great time. Although I had taken them almost 12 hours ago and felt totally sober, I figured I probably should not take the car2go that was sitting directly in front of his apartment.

    I figured I could hail a cab (I guess I’m old fashioned) but within 2 seconds of walking onto the corner of Madison, an Uber pulled up dropping off a bunch of drunk guys.

    I walked over to the guys window and tapped on it, I think he thought I was trying to rob him, showed him the $10 bill I would give him for taking me to “Broadway and Madison, just down the street” and he acted like I was asking him to take me to Zimbabwe. I tried to explain I’m just a normal person looking to overpay for a ride less than a half mile away, but since he had absolutely no idea where he was in the city (he didn’t even know he was on Madison), he said, “No, no, no, no,” rolled up his window, and sped off.

    I was like, “Wtf?” and got into the car2go, where I arrived home safely about 3 minutes later.

    This is why I don’t use Uber or Lyft. Their drivers are so clueless.

  7. “Uber” stoked for this! I can’t stand Uber and Lyft. Use to use Crown, but was too pricey for my commute. Just downloaded the Motör app, looks to be as cheap prices cheaper than Uber/Lyft. Seattle is still cool! Yay! Definitely will always try Motör first when I need a ride!

  8. Black Crown abruptly shut their doors overnight and charged my credit card three times in one day about a week after they had closed for rides I didn’t take.

    Stay away.

  9. Go Soto! So happy to see this finally gettinger off the ground. I’ve heard about this for awhile now. He personally never turns anyone away that may need rides because they’re in a weird situation, or just broke. More community based business owhere please! In it sincerest form!

  10. This dude is the epitome of the American dream. This mother effer gets me to and from work on the regular virtually avoiding every red light on the way. Haha! His crew is the best too. Keeping Seattle light as f***k! Hope he gets some well deserved rest soon!

  11. Crazy! Somebody at Mercury tonight gave me a card for motor. Now I’m seeing this here. Guess I’ll try it tomorrow night!

  12. Rode last night. A rad girl driver who has known the owner for years. She’s way happier here than on Lyft (when she gets rides). Everyone else was surging except Motör, and I listened to Blondie on my ride home, while supporting real Seattle. *deletes Lyft app from phone*