(16 Total References)
Hooptie Ride Driving Service was founded in Spring of 2001 by Virginia Tech alumnus David Robinson.
Designed to provide students and other members of the local community with safe, reliable, smoke-free transportation, Hooptie Ride offers a convenient alternative to drinking and driving.
Before founding Hooptie Ride, Robinson used as his daily driver a 1972 Buick Electra, which he customized and nick-named the "Purle People Eater.
For months, Robinson provided free ride service in the "Purple People Eater" on weekend nights, accepting donations only.
On March 1, 2001, Robinson received operating authority and Hooptie Ride began operations as a limited liability corporation.
roanoke.com - New River Valley Current-Region struggles with rising gas prices
David Robinson, owner of Hooptie Ride, pulls into the BP station on Blacksburg's South Main Street before filling up the Hooptie's limo Monday.
...To you, it's a free upgrade, but to Hooptie Ride owner and general manager David Robinson, it's a money-saving tactic.
"Gas has become enough of a factor that we consider it when we're only running one or two vehicles," Robinson
said."We're trying to run the ones that are better on gas."
That means more work for the Hokie Hustler
, the Disco Caddy
and, yes, the stretch limo.
"When the stretch limousine is one of the cars getting some of the best gas mileage in your fleet, you know you're not that economical with fuel," Robinson
said."But we run vintage cars [and] it's just one of the things we factor in."
Some vehicles in the vintage fleet get just 10 miles a gallon and with four cars on the road this summer, Robinson
spending $175 to $200 a week on gasoline.
The Blacksburg-based business owner said he
'll likely spend upward of $1,000 more on gas this year than he did two years ago -- enough for Robinson
to consider adding a more fuel-efficient car to his
likes electric cars and vehicles that run on natural gas, but, he
added, finding something that fits all necessary company criteria is a challenge.
"How can we get people around in a vehicle that's going to be economically fuel efficient, but is also big enough to handle a lot of people and still exemplifies the Hooptie ride?"Robinson
But in the meantime, Robinson
is coping with rising gas prices not just by relying less on his
gas guzzlers but by charging more for his
Roanoke Times/roanoke.com Archives
David Robinson, founder of the company, has three vehicles running - the purple Electra, a gold Cadillac Sedan Deville and a lime green van he calls the "Mystery Mobile," reminiscent of the Mystery Machine in the old Saturday cartoon "Scooby Doo.
"I try to go with a different style that you don't see all the time," Robinson
The company name comes from the cars - Robinson
said the term hooptie means "big old car."
"You get dropped off VIP style," Robinson
But Hooptie Ride
is about more than riding in style.
service, which runs primarily after 7 p.m., is an alternative to driving after drinking.
"We are specializing in being a designated driver service," he
"When we get them out, we feel responsible for getting them home safely."
said getting intoxicated people home can be a tough job at times.
is not in business to compete with Blacksburg's other cab companies, although HooptieRide
does offer airport services.
also holds a certificate of public convenience, which allows him to carry up to 15 passengers in a vehicle.
The standard cab certificate allows for six passengers.
Catering to groups is a specialty of HooptieRide
Robinson works with fraternities and sororities at Virginia Tech during special events.
tries to make it more than just a ride.
"When you pull up, people are checking you out," Robinson
"There is a local pop culture behind it."
Jason Swayze, a "virgin rider" as Robinson
called him, agreed.
"You can get a picture of you and your buddies to remember the night," Robinson
Also on the Web page, one can see Holmes, an English bulldog and the official HooptieRide
job fun, but is serious when it comes to safety.
said the size of his
cars and their heavy frames contribute to their excellent safety records.
also said drivers are never in a hurry to get where they are going.
"There is no need to hurry in a Hooptie
and two other drivers keep the business rolling.
said, customers will not have to wait more then 15 minutes and there is normally a car around the corner.
It is not just a service for Virginia Tech
said, although they have been the primary users.
Rides are $2 for groups and $5 for individuals, though pricing is different for special services.
business is not making money yet, though it is supporting itself.
is on the lookout for a fourth car, although he
is not sure what it will be or when it will be purchased.
"I will know it when I see it," he
As for the future Robinson said he
would like to see Hooptie Ride franchises in other college towns.
"If done properly, we could go a long way with this," he
(left), founder of HooptieRide
, greets his
Ride taxi service: proprietor David Robinson (center), drivers Josh
After then contacting Hooptie ...
After then contacting Hooptie Ride's founder David Robinson, he agreed to provide the rest of the funds needed to cover the expense.
"Just so happens being near a ...
"Just so happens being near a college town, lots of people need a ride if they can't drive themselves," said David Robinson, Tech alumnus and founder of the Hooptie Ride. Robinson
said that designated driving has always been a staple of the Hooptie Ride
.Robinson founded the Hooptie Ride in 2001.
"It was a combination of things that made me start the Hooptie