The weekend ritual of half-dressed students staggering home the morning after a night of debauchery may be an event of the past thanks to the newly created Walk of Shame Shuttle.
Art & Design senior Kellyann Wargo developed the transportation service, which offers a packaged deal to customers for $5 that includes a ride, a bottle of water, a $5 coupon on a Plan B pill and a “complimentary high five” according to the company’s online flyer.
Wargo said she created the service as a way for students to avoid an embarrassing walk home or having to call a taxi early in the morning following a sexual rendezvous or drunken outing.
“Chances are someone is calling me because their hook-up doesn’t have a car and won’t walk them home, so they feel bad enough about themselves already,” Wargo said. “I want to create a comfortable, safe, entertaining atmosphere … I genuinely have my passengers’ best interest at heart because I know how much walking home or taking a taxi sucks.”
Wargo said the business model was inspired from her personal experiences shuttling friends back to their homes in the morning after long nights out, after which she would often receive fast food as compensation.
“I’d spend a lot of time picking up friends and they would buy me McDonald’s in return,” Wargo said. “We were spending a lot of time at McDonald’s and I wondered, ‘Can you give me money instead?’”
Wargo said she is currently working with Student Legal Services and other services on campus in order to begin operating her business. The service, which will be exclusive to University students, will run Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
She added that at first the service will be limited to students who are her acquaintances, and customers must text her with their name and location.
“When my license and service is legal, I will only pick up friends, or friends of friends, who have to tell me the first and last name of someone I know well and how they know them to be safe,” Wargo said.
Mark Newmann, owner of Stadium Taxi in Ann Arbor, said if the Walk of Shame Shuttle garners widespread support on campus, it may begin to compete with his company’s business.
“If friends are willing to pick up other friends by having a shuttle ride — that will take away from our business, of course,” Newmann said.
However, Newmann said that since the Walk of Shame Shuttle will most likely be operating at early morning hours, the service would not pose as much of a threat to his business.
“Something like that would be beneficial for the early morning hours, from 2 to 5 a.m., it’d be fine for someone to do that,” Newmann said. “However, picking people up from the bar and taking them elsewhere would take away from our money.”
Wargo said her business has gained interest from customers who seek to avoid obtaining a ride with an unknown cab driver.
“Many girls are already showing a lot of interest in the service because they prefer having a friend like me pick them up instead of a random cab driver,” Wargo said.
LSA senior Amanda Schweigert said the Walk of Shame Shuttle is a service that appeals to her.
“It’s a brilliant idea, and I think Kellyann is brilliant for starting it,” Schweigert said. “It’s a service that a lot of people want and will use because they don’t want the embarrassment of a taxi.”
After creating the online flyer and posting it to her Facebook, Wargo said her prospective business went viral, gaining attention on BroBible.com, a website dedicated to teaching the “Bro Code,” which was linked to by Sports Illustrated’s website, SI.com. She added that the mass coverage was unintentional.
“At first, the plan was just to offer this service to friends as a way for them to pay me for my work,” Wargo said. “I didn’t think other people would be interested in this until it went viral.”
Known for her comedic Tumblr, Ginger Ambition that has gained increased popularity, Wargo said she aspires to be the next red-headed Chelsea Handler. If Walk of Shame Shuttle becomes an established business, she hopes to sell the company and pursue her dreams related to writing and comedy.