Andy McBarr – October 12, 2014
When I first heard our local governments had cut a deal with the Usher company for this app idea I admit I was pretty skeptical. I’ve heard a lot of stuff about the company and its founder and I thought it would just be no good, I used to think ridesharing services only made sense with big cities. But on the other hand, ever since the problems in Haymeadow and then Whitbridge, our communities haven’t really been themselves. The difficulty of finding quality hayrides as more and more people moved away was becoming apparent and I was starting to think I’d have to move too. But then the Usher company came to the rescue with HeyRyde!! The app is still in the testing stages right now and our little towns are the testing grounds. Need a hayride? Then download HeyRyde (lol!!) and request a ride from one of the local independent providers! Just about everyone still in the business is working with the app, which makes it super convenient. My first driver was from Whitbridge, which as a lifelong Haymeadow resident I was skeptical of, but he turned out to be really nice. I think this app will bring our communities closer together, which is important given all the struggles we’ve had. Also, they don’t tell you this in the app description, occasionally you’ll put out a call for a hayride and get one of their experimental self-driving wagons!
Erica Nicholson – October 16, 2014
Our kids were upset because our dog and cat ran away, so the hubby and I decided to cheer them up with a little hayride! I’d recently downloaded this app and thought it was a perfect opportunity to try it out. What a great idea! Our driver was a local man who was giving out hayrides to make some extra cash. He was very friendly and even had a cooler of apple cider in the back. Kids loved it!
Gregory Chunch – October 20, 2014
It’s been depressing in the greater Whitbridge-Haymeadow area lately, after the riots and the fires over the past few years, but with the Usher company setting up shop in town I feel like things are finally turning around! It’s so charitable of a big Silicon Valley company to come all the way out here to help us make ends meet. I haven’t actually used this app but I think it’s a great idea, and I’m going to help keep the market competitive by starting my own hayride app. Keep an eye out for Wagyn, coming soon to an app store near you!!
Amir Brooks – October 23, 2014
Extremely impressed by the self-driving wagon that picked us up for our ride. There weren’t even any horses! Whatever mechanical wizardry is keeping the wagons going is perfectly hidden, it otherwise looks exactly like an old farm’s hay wagon. We took a nice ride up around north Whitbridge and everything was lovely, my date loved the colors of the leaves and it was nice not having a driver there to intrude on the moment. When I called the Usher offices to tell them what a great innovation the self-driving wagons are I ended up talking to a woman (Charlotte) who played dumb and said the company doesn’t have self-driving wagons but I know how the tech world is, they’ve got to keep this under wraps unless a competitor steals the idea.
Alain Hardy – October 30, 2014
the ride has been going on so long so long it’s wonderful so wonderful i never want it to end hay so itchy
Tanya Greer – October 31, 2014
What a great experience! Taking a leisurely hayride through Haymeadow during trick-or-treating was a perfect way to spend the holiday. The driver even surprised us by taking us across the river into Whitbridge — at no extra charge! It was great to see how they celebrate Halloween, even if normally I’d not want to expose my children to the snobbery of people who live there. When I told the driver he didn’t have to bother, he said he felt like he didn’t have a choice. How nice of him!
Nancy Whittiker – November 5, 2014
Here’s a little thing that I guess you could call a “lifehack” — gas has been so expensive lately that driving to and from work (I work in Whitbridge but live in Haymeadow) has gotten too expensive, but for the past month I’ve been ordering hayrides to get me where I need to go and it’s been wonderful! I’m on a first-name basis with a few of the drivers now. It takes longer, sure, but if I plan ahead I can get to work and home without ever having to use my own car. I wonder if the service will go past the normal hayride season or if I’ll have to go back to driving myself? Here’s hoping!! :-)
Xander Harris – November 13, 2014
I’ve heard the Usher company is in negotiations with both the Haymeadow AND Whitbridge town boards to take over operation of public transit for the entire county. As a libertarian, I can think of nothing better for the economy of this region — even if I wish we didn’t have to deal with those scrubs over in Haymeadow constantly crowding our wagons. Anyway, that’s actually the beauty of the free market: if enough of us demand separate services we’ll eventually get them. I’ve loved the hayrides I’ve been taking and can’t wait to see how a stronger Usher influence in local government turns our little corner of southern Indiana into a center of 21st century industry!
Alessa Donovan – December 5, 2014
I have no idea why this app is still offering rides in December but I love it! It was so nice taking a hayride through the first snowfall of the year. It tells you something that the drivers love their job so much that they’re keeping this going year round!
Travis Wexler – January 2, 2015
With the new year we’ve seen the launch of a second hayride app in the Haymeadow-Whitbridge area, but the original is still the best! My driver was pleasant and talkative and even offered some warm cider. It could have been warmer, but that’s the only criticism I can come up with about this great service.
Casey Starr – February 9, 2015
My car broke down a few weeks ago which means I couldn’t get to work, but this app has been a lifesaver! It’s also such a pleasant way to get around. One of my drivers even said that you don’t even have to have your own horse and wagon anymore, Usher will lease them to you. Maybe I’ll take up a little side job!!
Karin Hedley – January 7, 2015
Who wants a hayride in January? Well I was curious so I called one up. I recognized the woman who gave me the ride as one of the ladies who works the checkout at Wal*mart and I asked her how she liked the job and she said she hated it shed never worked with horses before and I asked her why she was doing it and said she didnt have a choice she needed the money. I said maybe you could get another job and she just started crying. Extremely unpleasant.
Melvin Lowe – February 28, 2015
Unreliable drivers. Will often take weird routes and detours that make the commute too long and you end up late to wherever you’re going. Wagyn (locally owned) is a much better alternative.
Norbert Pflum – March 5, 2015
My driver was obviously drunk and drove our wagon straight into the Juggascrow War Memorial in downtown Haymeadow. Driver incoherent. Awful. Talked with Charlotte Raith in Usher Customer Service who arranged a refund for the ride, one bright spot.
Darcy Metcalfe – April 11, 2015
Had a weird issue where the GPS stopped working and the driver got lost. We ended up out on some country road and we could see the mansion the Usher guy built at the old quarry and these big black dogs came out and followed the wagon really close. Didn’t growl or bark or anything, just followed. My son was crying and it was definitely getting to the driver but he was so scared of the dogs! Where did they even come from? I thought all the dogs in town ran away months ago.
Tater Breyer – May 18, 2015
I’ve used Wagyn from Chunch Technologies before and loved it, but since they sold out to HeyRyde after the founder passed away I don’t have another option and I HATE this!! The drivers are always surly and won’t talk to you and if they do usually it’s weird stuff you don’t want to hear and don’t even get me STARTED on the self-driving wagons which the offices say they don’t have but then why do they keep showing up??? Usher is a bad company. Instead of taking me where I want to go the self-driving wagons will just go out onto country roads for hours on end and i can’t stop them whenever i call up a hay ride and one of the self-driving wagons shows up i don’t get on anymore even though they sit outside my house for like an hour. Would like an update where you can choose to not get a self-driving wagon
Carol Jordan – June 20, 2015
For over 35 years my father worked as a chemistry teacher at Haymeadow High School (Go Ravens!) and just retired at the end of this last schoolyear. He felt bored with the new downtime and figured that driving for HeyRyde would be a low-stress hobby that he could also get paid for. I didn’t like the idea of him working a job in his retirement but he was insistent! Well he started driving for them a two weeks ago and the shifts just kept getting longer. Last time he was out for almost an entire day and came back at three in the morning (he moved in with us after he retired). When he’s home he just goes into our spare bedroom and sleeps. I’ve told him he doesn’t have to keep doing this but he won’t listen. I hate this app!!
Angela Legg – July 5, 2015
i took a “fourth of july” hayride which was an awful idea. it was hot and itchy and the driver wouldn’t stop so i could get a drink, he just kept saying “we have to follow the route.” i was so thirsty i came close to having a heatstroke i was hallucinating that the road was glowing like bright red and the horses had too many legs. i don’t recommend using this app but if you do at least bring your own drinks that’s what i’m doing when me and my friends do our bastille day hayride next week.
Dusty Moller – July 8, 2015
My daughter sank into a pile of hay in the corner of the wagon and we couldn’t find her for almost five minutes. Eventually we managed to dig her out but now she has a really bad case of lice. The driver didn’t even care.
Louis Caulfield – July 16, 2015
I wanted to have a pleasant Bastille Day hayride, but there were a bunch of Haymeadow bumpkins on my wagon who wouldn’t stop asking me what Bastille Day is so I had to sit very uncomfortably while they read the explanation on the back of my Happy Bastille Day t-shirt. Very annoying.
Joe Samson – September 8, 2015
Got stuck on a group ride with a bunch of uppity Whitbridge folks and some annoying teens (also probably from Whitbridge, they were vaping). They spent the entire part of the ride that took us through Haymeadow talking about how our sidewalks were dirty and that our street signs were hard to read. When the ride finally turned around and took a country road into Whitbridge (I didn’t want to go but the driver couldn’t stop) I started talking really loudly about how their giant street signs make it look like a town where only old people live, but I was the only person there doing it and everyone just stared at me. I hate Whitbridge folks.
Patricia Azikiwe – October 11, 2015
I wish the town boards had better negotiated that public transit deal with Usher because after a year of nonstop hayrides they just don’t seem that special, even when they’re seasonally appropriate.
Tara McIntyre – October 31, 2015
self-driving wagon would not let me or my son off to trick or treat, just drove back and forth for three hours i had to buy candy for him from the store later. also i think the hay gave us both lice
Jackson Liu – November 7, 2015
People love to say ridiculous stuff about services like this, like my friend who swears his sister took a HeyRyde and never came home, but that’s such bull**** when there are so many real things to complain about. Moldy hay, ridiculous pricing even though it’s after Halloween, and the wheels of the wagon were making this weird squeaking sound that the longer I listened to the more it sounded like someone screaming. Oh also the ride lasted way too long and I started having weird f***ed up thoughts in case that wasn’t obvious!
Maria Kendal – November 21, 2015
I live on the Haymeadow-Whitbridge border and it’s hard to sleep with the wagons running by my house all night. Who’s even riding them so late? They just keep coming and going from that weirdo’s mansion at the old quarry.
Gene Kim – January 23, 2016
I was in the area on a business trip, doing some negotiations with Usher, and decided to check out this service. I will say, I immediately called my home office and told them we should scuttle any partnerships — everyone knows the founder of Usher has some idiosyncrasies but this whole HeyRyde thing is something else! Even though everyone talks about these wagons being self-driving these days I had a deeply unpleasant driver, an old man in a large straw hat and ragged overalls, smelled like he hadn’t washed in weeks He never looked at me or acknowledged me, but he just stared ahead and kept moving his hands like he was leading horses. But there weren’t any horses!!
Xander Harris2 – February 16, 2016
I know I’ve reviewed this app before and positively, but I just want to say that I take it back totally. The founder of Usher, despite his admirable libertarian principles, has proven to be all talk, interfering with the free market by buying out his competitor Wagyn and letting the monopoly of his brand result in subpar service. I’ve tried calling the Better Business Bureau (much to my shame) but ever since Usher bought all the cell towers in the county the calls just redirect to their help line. And the local government is backing them every step of the way!! This isn’t capitalism, it’s corporatism!!!! BOYCOTT
Brynne Landau – April 6, 2016
I don’t even know what the point is anymore. Why leave a review? The service sucks. Wagons don’t go where you need them to. Have to deal with hicks from Haymeadow sharing your rides, and the nightmares, dear god, the nightmares
Charlotte Raith – October 28, 2016
I must admit I was skeptical when I was told we would be setting up a Midwestern office, and in rural Indiana of all places. Why? My supervisor at the time, who was in direct communication with someone who was in turn in direct communication with the CEO, told me many things about untapped markets, civic duty to under-served areas and populations, all what one might expect.
I was disappointed when I was told that I would be moving here to oversee operations in a new division of my old department. It was hard to say goodbye to California, even harder to adjust to these small, indolent towns and their insolent people. There are strange rivalries here that an outsider would not and cannot understand, long-simmering resentments, and the trauma of recent tragedies. This is to say nothing of the absolute obsession these people have with Halloween.
Over the past two years the situation has progressed… strangely. Our CEO, a recluse at the best of times, has become almost a total non-entity. The media speculates as to his activities and his mansion, which he had built on a small limestone cliff between these two small towns, sees no visitors, though the windows of the upper floors still glow orange at night. Meanwhile, reviews of our services have degenerated. And even then — people continue to use our app. Revenues are on a steady increase.
I admit I’ve been letting my work for the company slide as I’ve watched this situation develop. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the libraries in both towns. I drive myself, of course, I do not take the wagons. Most of them are self-driven these days. I do not recall a company memo about when we made the switch, but surely there must have been one.
I’ve been looking at old maps, studying divisions platted by this region’s settlers nearly three hundred years ago. I’ve been reading books. Very strange books. I’ve learned what ley lines are. And I suspect there was a reason the founders divided this land the way they did. But I’ve also been tracking the wagons.
There is a pattern forming. The paths crossed once and over again by our company’s vehicles are knitting together two towns that, for centuries, have been held apart. I am not a superstitious woman, but I have heard the rumors about our CEO and his interests — who could forget the sensational quote about drinking human blood — and I am beginning to wonder what his plan is for this operation. I have my suspicions, but they are suspicions only. I write this in the hopes that someone, anyone, especially someone outside these towns might read it. I fear the worst.
I’ve made the decision to close my office for the day. I’ve called my ride. His gate only opens for the automated wagons these days. The assortment of objects in my briefcase boggles my mind, even though I chose them — placing the of vial holy water next to the stun-gun, the box of purified salt next to the unregistered Glock — but time is short and I must have options.
The end is coming, first here, and then perhaps everywhere. And we were its Ushers. Forgive us. The road to Hell is subject to surge pricing, and we’ve made a tidy profit.
The previous entries in the Haymeadow saga are here and here. This post was funded by readers like you through Patreon. If you like what you read, want to see me write more, and want to get a chance to choose what I write about, please consider pledging.