THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - Commuters who travel between the desert and Los Angeles now have a new option to get where they need to go by riding in an electric car.
The Tesloop ride-sharing service is beginning this month to take passengers to and from the L.A. and Orange County areas.
"We are building the first sustainable transportation network," said Rahul Sonnad, CEO and co-founder of Tesloop.
This new ride-sharing company has been operating out of Los Angeles and Las Vegas for a couple of years.
Customers will book a seat in a Telsa vehicle online. The process is similar to booking an airline ticket, since you are paying for a specific seat or seats.
"You pick a pickup point, which can be anywhere in the Coachella Valley, like hotels or anywhere with businesses along the highways, and then we come and get you at that business. We also give you an Uber link to get you there," Sonnad said.
Once a customer gets into the car, a trained "pilot: will take that person and three other riders to the Los Angeles area. On the way riders can munch on healthy snacks, use free WiFi, and charge their phone or laptop.
"Customer service is huge. You want to engage the riders in conversation until they put headphones on or something," said Stephanie Tolle, a Tesloop pilot.
"This new service is the perfect complement to convenient transportation options offered in the City of Palm Springs," said Mary Jo Ginther, director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism. "With a centrally located international airport, Amtrak service, in-market transportation such as taxis and van service, the City's free Buzz Trolley and Uber, Tesloop creates another great yet unique, affordable way for visitors to travel to Palm Springs."
The cost for a one-way ticket is anywhere from $29 to $79. That is much cheaper than taking a cab or Uber and just a little bit more expensive than a Greyhound bus ticket, but what you're really saving is time.
"Because there is so few people we drop two or three drops total, and that's maybe 20 minutes of drop time total, which is fine for a two and a half hour ride. You get to where you are going, so you save that 20 minutes because you are right there," Sonnad said.
Onboard computers monitor what drivers are doing by the second and will alert management if a driver is going off course or is driving dangerously.
Some riders at a local Greyhound bus stop said they would be interested in taking part in this service instead of taking the bus.
"It is the future and we need to look at those things because those are new concepts and a lot of people may be afraid of it but it is really the way of the future," said Dodie Clark who just got off the bus from Los Angeles.