ITHACA, NY – Thanks to a new Cornell startup called RedRoute, some of the favorite elements of ride-sharing services like Uber, such as easy ride-hailing, digital payment and GPS tracking of drivers may be coming to Ithaca soon.

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Brian Schiff, Karl Reis and Leor Alon, a trio of Cornell sophomores, founded RedRoute and spent the last year building the app for it, according to a report from the Cornell Daily Sun.

While RedRoute has the same basic functionality as Uber and Lyft, it has one key difference. Rather than linking up ride-seekers with amateur drivers, RedRoute pairs them with professional taxi drivers from local cab companies, according to the company’s website.

This allows RedRoute to avoid the legal hurdles that have so far kept Uber from bringing its business upstate. Since RedRoute is working with a local cab company, Ithaca Dispatch, they’ll likely avoid opposition on that front as well.

On the other hand, RedRoute lacks the crowdsourced workforce of Uber and Lyft, so it’s difficult to say if it will be able to match the level of saturation those services have in bigger cities.

What makes RedRoute different?

Essentially, RedRoute just provides the software base, rather than trying to be a fully featured service.

To their cab company partners, RedRoute promises things like analytics and improved dispatching tools. Of course, the big sell is that RedRoute hopes to corner the market on the highly sought-after college customers and deliver that directly to their partners.

RedRoute is aimed specifically at college towns like Ithaca, so it also boasts a few additional amenities targeted specifically toward the college crowd.

For one, it includes a social news feed that allows users to see (and comment on) where their friends are riding to. It also will also track trending destinations, as well as include a preset list of local hotspots, according to the company’s website.

While tailored toward college students, it is not limited to them. You can use RedRoute to book a ride to any destination that would normally be serviced by Ithaca Dispatch, RedRoute CTO Leor Alon.

The company aims to expand to other college towns by the end of this summer, according to an article in Slope Media.

(Featured photo courtesy

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Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.