Toronto's most famous Uber driver has retired
Unfortunately for residents looking to keep the party going on their Uber ride home, Toronto's best nightclub on wheels is officially no more.
If you never got the lucky chance to actually hop in Partyryde, you've likely heard of it: a dark grey Mazda MPV that was by all appearances business on the outside, but held a secret mini party on the inside.
Mike Crawford, the driver who completely decked out his car for the entertainment of rideshare app users all over the city, announced his permanent retirement from the business over the weekend in a heartfelt Instagram post thanking customers for all of the fun times.
"It brings great sadness to announce that due to Covid-19 and the oversaturated market in transportation that Partyryde will come to an end," the caption reads.
"There have been tons of fun memories, from weddings, birthdays, to music videos. None of it would have been possible without the trust and faith in me and my vision for Partyryde... Love you guys and I will truly miss all the craziness!"
I would like to take a moment to thank my family, friends and followers who have supported the journey of Partyryde. There have been tons of fun memories, from weddings, birthdays, to music videos. None of it would have been possible without the trust and faith in me and my vision for Partyryde. . It brings great sadness to announce that due to Covid-19 and the oversaturated market in transportation that Partyryde will come to an end. I will continue to post on Instagram with Stories/Post as I have many great connections and friendships with many of you. Videos will remain up as a reminder of all the fun times, and memories Partyryde has provided. Thank you again for always trusting in me and for allowing me to be part of your special event! Love you guys and I will truly miss all the craziness! Stay in touch!
Crawford came up with the idea to make an Uber ride with him a truly unique trip to remember back in 2017 after one year on the job — and that's when the epic legend of Partyryde began.
"I wanted to change the experience people were having when they enter into a rideshare vehicle, especially on a party night like Friday or Saturday," he says, adding that he started off customizing his interior — which included multicoloured lights, stuffed animals and other decor — to fit specific occasions and holidays.
He then upped his amenities, installing a karaoke machine, a smoke machine, screens for video games and music, and adding in things like fun sunglasses and waterbottles for riders' fun and comfort as his brand got progressively more popular.
Soon, every night became party night in what was the city's most coveted Uber, which ended up bringing joy for residents and Crawford alike.
"I never thought being a driver would raise so much passion and love for my city! I Fell in love with my city and I wanted to bring something new and some things that nobody has done before," he says.
Since he started Partyryde, Crawford has been named Toronto's highest rated Uber driver of 2018 and has chauffeured the likes of superstars Shawn Mendes, the Lumineers and more. He and his wheels have also been featured in news segments, music videos, and private parties for birthdays and weddings.
But sadly, despite all the hype, the pandemic hit Crawford hard as people started looking to drive for Uber while they were out of work during lockdown.
This added a surge of even more people to a market that was already becoming oversaturated due to the convenience of picking up Uber shifts as a side hustle to complement a regular income.
"The transportation market started to get flooded with drivers which caused 'the regular' full-timers [like me] to receive less calls. It came to the point where all the money I was earning was going towards gas and repairs. It no longer became the fun experience it once was," Crawford says.
After a few months off the road, he's now come to terms with the fact that he won't be in the position to revive Partyryde.
"I tried my best to keep it running but it came to the point where I had to put my family first and make sure I was able to bring food to the table. And now with Covid-19 it has made this ride impossible to kick start once again," he says.
Despite the fact that Crawford says the end of his time as an Uber driver has "truly broken my heart as I was very passionate and had intentions to grow this business," he adds in his farewell post that he will still be maintaining and updating his social media to keep in touch with the many friends he has made along the way, and to keep the memory of Partyryde alive.
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