WARREN—It’s been just over a year that Corinna Whitehill started her personal cab company called Corie’s Rides. It’s a service that has been fundamental to the Midcoast community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when people are at risk of losing their homes and their cars.
Whitehill got her start in the driving business as the owner and a driver for Mid-Coast Connector, a MaineCare non-emergency transportation broker. It’s a service she still operates, along with eight cars and drivers every day to help folks get to medical appointments. But, along the way, she realized that the general public could use the same kind of driving service.
“In the winter, especially around the two weeks of Christmas and the New Year, when the Mid-Coast Connector was shut down two days during that time, my thought was to open a general cab service to the surrounding Midcoast areas to supplement the other business and to give people more ride options,” she said. “There’s no transportation around here, no way for people to get where they need to go.”
Corie’s Rides took awhile to get off the ground. First, she had to get certain permits to operate in her neighborhood. To comply with an ordinance, she agreed to only operate between Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Officially open in November 2019, she began her business with one car.
Now, a year later, she has two cabs dedicated to Corie’s Rides with a second driver. Her driving area is flexible, and she covers just about every town in Midcoast Maine.
It costs approximately $8 in-town in Warren, Waldoboro, Thomaston, and Rockland and from $12 to $18 town-to-town, depending on the starting and ending location. Other runs are set by mileage, which Whitehill discusses with clients ahead of time.
Her typical clients are people who don’t have vehicles, or whose vehicles are in the midst of being repaired—people who need to get to work, go to the gym, to the store, to medical appointments, to get errands done, and more.
Unlike a typical cab company, she said she doesn’t charge for wait time.
“I’m not out to get rich,” she said. “I don’t charge for an extra stop. Say, somebody wants to stop at a convenience store on the way I’m driving, I just charge one fare.”
Whitehill said she even does airport runs. Typically, a run from Rockland to the Portland Jetport would average out to be about $165. Although airport rides are rare these days, especially during a pandemic when most people are staying put.
“COVID-19 has really impacted both of my businesses,” she said. “It’s been trickling in.”
Because Whitehill doesn’t have a website or a business Facebook page, most of her advertising has been word of mouth. Her phone number is 207-691-2701.
Whitehill is proud of what she can offer.
“We’re courteous and friendly to everybody,” she said. “It just makes me feel good that I’m helping people.”
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com