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.”
He 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.