GOLF CART TRANSPORTATION PLANNED FOR DOWNTOWN TAMPA
TAMPA, FL - Thanks to a Harbour Island man downtown visitors can catch trolleys, cabs and streetcars, but soon they'll have an alternative: golf carts.
In Tampa, the NEVs will start rolling sometime this month and operate on Friday and Saturday nights. Unlike regular taxis, customers will not call to arrange a pick up. Instead, the carts will troll busy tourist spots where pedestrians can flag them down. Patrons will not be charged for rides...
- they'll be encouraged to tip drivers
- and revenue will come from ads on the vehicles.
"My whole goal is get people around a small area a lot more efficiently. Plus they're fun to ride in," said Todd Persico, who's starting the business, called Hop Tampa. "I think that this area needs a new concept in downtown transportation and needs something to help people get around and discover what's happening in downtown Tampa," he said.
The NEVs, which cost about $17,000 each, look like stretched golf carts. They're legal by state law on roads with speed limits that don't exceed 35 mph. Unlike regular golf carts, they come with bucket seats, seat belts, brake lights, headlights and windshield wipers. They can reach speeds of 25 mph and run for 30 miles between charges. Initially, the vehicles will operate only on weekend nights and in the arts district, Channel District and Harbour Island, where Persico lives. If the business takes off over the next year or so, it could be expanded to weekdays and to SoHo and Hyde Park. Persico is starting with two carts - for now housed in the garage at his condominium - but he's hoping eventually to expand to five vehicles.
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