Timothy Hochstedler of St. Joseph County, Michigan has started what he calls an “Amish Uber” service, reports WWMT.
When I first heard of this, I thought it might be something an Amishman was doing as a service for other Amish in his community.
Rather it seems like it is appealing more to non-Amish – and may just be another name for a buggy ride business.
Hochstedler charges just $5 per ride, and you can see his hand-made sign stuck to his buggy advertising “Amish horse and buggy rides”. So it sounds like Timothy may be among other things a clever marketer.
The story gives the impression that most of the riders are English:
Inside his horse and buggy, people share a ride and Hochstedler gets to share some stories. Everyone’s happy.
“Uber is a cool thing, every single year something new comes in and Uber is hot right now, so we have the Amish Uber. We can deliver people to their front door steps,” Hochstedler said.
So far, people are loving it.
“First time Ubering and we’re riding in a buggy,” said Steve Phelps, an Amish Uber rider.
Bruce Jordan and his grandkids took a ride after traveling from Grand Rapids.
“It was fascinating. It’s not an activity you typically associate with the Amish,” Jordan said.
Most riders are not from Colon, the place where Timothy operates his service, but he says a few local residents have asked him for rides around town.
After viewing the video below I wondered if he is actually a member of the church or maybe just has Amish roots. Tim seems pretty flamboyant for an Amish person; you’ll notice an American flag pin on his hat as well as his surname emblazoned on the horse’s tack.
You’ll also see traces of facial hair on Timothy’s upper lip, though in some communities a few Amish do wear something like mustaches.
So how to catch a ride? It’s simple, no app needed – just flag Timothy down.
Amish using regular Uber
While we’re on the topic, one thing worth mentioning – some Amish use the actual Uber service. I heard about this last spring while visiting Lancaster County.
The Amishman who told me about it enthused about the convenience, especially compared to trying to book an Amish taxi, which you may have to do days in advance and then are locked in to a set time frame – quite the contrast with Uber’s near-instant convenience. I would guess the rates are better as well.
Granted this was a business-oriented Amishman in a more progressive district in Lancaster County, but with smartphones present in some segments of Amish society, it’s hardly surprising that some Amish are taking advantage of the handy transport app.