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How Tip-Based Shuttle Service Efrogs Makes Money

Those electric vehicles driving around downtown have three primary revenue streams.
By Farah Qutub |

Those decorated shuttle cars maneuvering around Dallas have been around longer than Uber. When ride-share services were still new in 2010, Jeb Morris and Melissa Hart founded efrogs in Dallas as an alternative form of transportation to service office workers and bar patrons. The shuttle service covers downtown and the surrounding districts, such as Deep Ellum and Uptown, using electric vehicles that can seat six passengers.

The free, tip-based service’s primary source of revenue comes from utilizing advertising on the sides of its shuttles. According to co-founder Morris, 60 percent of efrogs’ revenue comes from advertising, 20 percent comes from corporate services, and 20 percent comes from city tours and public riders.  In 2015, efrogs added doors to its vehicles, creating a canvas for advertisements.

More recently, efrogs transitioned to focusing on the needs of daytime customers. “We are more focused on the downtown urban transportation needs. There’s [no place] with a greater strain on parking, [more] limited space for parking, or greater demand for short-trip needs,” Morris says.

When customer’s text his or her arrival and departure addresses to efrogs, the shuttle service sets up a time to pick up the customer. Passengers can also schedule rides in advance. Additional services include group rentals, local tours, wedding and special events, and satellite parking shuttle. “When it’s too far to walk, but too close to drive, that’s where we come into play,” efrogs Vice President Gary Haag says. Plus, the eco-friendly shuttles that produce zero emissions. Efrogs currently offers lunch shuttles to and from Fountain Place, seasonal weekend shuttles in suburb Little Elm, and public shuttles at Pinnacle Tower.

Typically, 100 to 150 rides take place a day. Operating hours run Monday to Friday from 7am to 11pm and vary based on weather and events. Efrogs’ team of 10 drivers have worked in the service industry for decades and are very familiar with the area, according to co-founders. Efrogs employees must go through background checks. “Uber is just another version of a cab, ours is a lot more of a personal service,” Haag says.

An efrogs app is available for iOS and Galaxy users. It plans to further expand to The Shops at Legacy in Plano and HALL Park in Frisco.

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