Longtime Glendale resident Santiago Vallejo has always had that “hustler mentality,” as he calls it, and when he saw a listing online for six rickshaws, he didn’t just see an ad; he saw an opportunity.
Looking for a way to connect with the community and brighten people’s days, Vallejo decided to pull together his savings, buy the rickshaws and launch Jewel City Eco Rides. Through the bicycle-powered carriages, residents can climb aboard and be transported to a local destination of their choice.
“Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, I want to make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone,” he said. “You never know what anyone has going on and this little interaction goes a long way.”
Vallejo offers rides around The Americana at Brand, tours of Downtown Glendale for visitors and hangs around car dealerships and hotels for easily accessible rides. If customers schedule an Eco Ride in advance and pay a $5 fee on top of the regular ride price, Vallejo will also do home or work pickups for both one-way rides and joy rides.
“I believe in old school service,” Vallejo said. “You just call me, schedule me and I’m there. I’m very punctual. I take pride in my service. I’m always there on time.”
Eco Rides also works with office buildings during lunch time to allow for convenient lunch hour transportation so employees don’t have to spend their lunch break searching for parking.
As for his team, he is technically a one man show since officially launching in June, though a handful of friends help him out when business is busy.
“I can’t allow just anybody to ride the bikes because it’s not just the service; it’s the personality, the charisma and whoever drives the bikes has to represent me and my image,” he said, adding that he takes pride in offering environmentally friendly transportation options for the community.
Since launching his business, Vallejo has participated in the Montrose Christmas Parade, with Mayor Dan Brotman riding in one of the Eco Ride rickshaws, and Glendale Cruise Night.
For Vallejo, it’s all about customer service and he believes it takes a certain type of person to properly deliver quality, holistic service.
“I always make sure that passengers are comfortable. They’re the ones paying and I’m a big believer that whenever you’re paying for something, you have to make sure that it’s worth what you’re paying,” he said.
For one-way rides, the current Eco Rides rate is $10 for 1-2 people and $15 for 3-4 people. For joy rides, Vallejo charges $20 for every 15 minutes for 1-4 people.
Visit jewelcityecorides.com to learn more or schedule an Eco Ride.
First published in the February 3 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.