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July 7, 2017

New pedicab service in Worcester

Courtesy WooRides has three brightly colored pedicabs, which were painted and restored by Foley's Collision Center.

A Worcester Polytechnic Institute student's idea for a pedicab service in Worcester has become reality.

Shahbaz Soofi, who graduated from WPI in 2014, has started WooRides, which offers rides in the back of foot-powered vehicles fitting a few people comfortably. The service was launched on June 17 for a Juneteenth celebration and also ran during the Taste of Shrewsbury Street on June 20.

“A cooperative business can do a lot for a local economy in terms of equity,” Shahbaz told the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, which announced the new service Thursday. “It just seemed like the right time to do it.”

People can reserve a ride on WooRides's website, The service is based on Portland Street downtown.

WooRides is part of StartUp Worcester, a business incubator and part of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce aimed at helping entrepreneurial college students and others in the area with resources to start their businesses. As part of the 2017 cohort of StartUp Worcester winners, WooRides gained access to wide variety of benefits from the chamber, The Venture Forum, and the Worcester Clean Tech Incubator, an entrepreneurial work space designed for startup companies.

Partners in WooRides include Soofi's mother, Imrana, and brother, Ali, along with colleagues Josh Averett, Valentine Beluchukwu, and Yaovi Tsomana.

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