Rod Drury-Inspired Software Becomes Central Otago’s ‘Uber’ of Bike Lanes
Debbie Jamieson / Stuff
Trailblazers Oliver Bylett, Duncan Faulkner, Monica Penall, Viv Buchanan, Seb Chapman, David Webb, and Katie Vogl will move your car between Cromwell and Clyde and hike the trail in between.
When tech entrepreneur Rod Drury called software developer Duncan Faulkner, Faulkner was careful.
“When Rod rings the bell and says he has an idea, you shut up and listen,” Faulkner said.
Drury, the now retired manager of Xero accounting software, lives in Queenstown where he indulges his passion for mountain biking.
A few months ago, Drury wanted to hike the new Dunstan Trail, a 55 kilometer trail between Cromwell and Clyde along Lake Dunstan.
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However, he was frustrated that he couldn’t find someone to move his car to the end of the trail.
After thinking about the problem, he reached out to Cromwell-based Faulkner at his company Southern Software. Drury was a client of the company.
His idea was to develop an Uber-style technological solution that would allow a cyclist to park their car at the end and meet a local cyclist who would move the car to the opposite end of the trail.
The local biker would leave the keys in a drop box and return to their original location.
Faulkner was sold immediately.
“The customer cycles to the other end and can just pick up the keys, get in their car and drive away.
“In the meantime, you are creating a whole bunch of jobs for those who are passionate about cycling, people who want to get in shape or who want to be paid to ride the trail.”
Faulkner and his business partner Oliver Bylett developed the trailtransfer.nz software within months and word was announced that cyclists were needed as “pioneers”.
Almost 60 people have come forward, but the list has since shrunk to 25 who have received training, including in safety management and vehicle inspection.
The Dunstan Lake Trail winds along a steep gorge, with platforms clinging to cliffs and a floating cafe (video posted June 2021).
Customers will pay $ 150 for the service, which includes insurance for drivers behind the wheel; the rider pockets $ 100 and spends two to three hours on the return trail.
Most of them are professionals like the account administrator Viv Buchanan.
“I work flexible hours and love to cycle on the track. Getting paid is a bonus, ”she said.
The website went live on Friday without ads and the first booking was made 30 minutes later.
Brook Sabin / Stuff
This remarkable new restaurant and tourist attraction has its roots in the country’s first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
Bylett said the system is environmentally friendly as it reduces the need for car trips and is a great way to connect visitors with locals.
Faulkner envisioned that the “pioneers” would eventually become ambassadors of the track, trained in first aid and able to provide support to runners who need it.
If all went well, they were planning to venture into other parts of New Zealand, and potentially the world.
“If they have a trail and a biker community, we have the technology,” he said.