Free downtown city shuttle service begins on March 29

Service will be available seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

i-Ride Sarasota shuttles similar to this will be ready to roll on March 29 in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

On Wednesday, March 29, the long-planned, free shuttle service in downtown Sarasota officially will be launched, city staff has announced.

Operated by Gotcha (Green Operated Transit Carrying Humanity Around) Ride, the fleet of seven low-speed electric vehicles will convey people to downtown locations and stops in the Rosemary District, a city news release says. At the outset, the service — dubbed i-Ride Sarasota — will be available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, the release adds.

“In a simple manner, both the name and logo convey the purpose of this pilot program: to connect people with places,” city Parking General Mark Lyons said in the release.

A free trip with i-Ride Sarasota may be secured three ways, the release notes:

  • Via a free mobile app, Gotcha Ride.
  • By telephone: 941-444-2585.
  • By hailing a vehicle on the street.

The service area’s boundaries are 14th Street to the north; Mound Street to the south; School Avenue to the east; and the bayfront to the west, the release adds.

“We are excited to bring our transportation solutions to a beautiful city like Sarasota,” said Gotcha Media Holdings CEO Sean Flood, a Tampa native, in the release. “Our experience in other densely populated communities with parking and transportation challenges is a perfect fit.”

Mark Lyons. File photo

In February, the City Commission unanimously approved funding for a two-year pilot program with Gotcha. The goal is for the program to pay for itself through advertising displayed on the vehicles.

The first local i-Ride Sarasota sponsor is CitySide, a new 228-unit apartment community in the Rosemary District, the release points out. Advertisements for CitySide will be “wrapped” on the exterior of the i-Ride Sarasota vehicles, the release says.

“We could not pass up the opportunity to support an eco-friendly initiative that will help alleviate traffic in the city we call home,” said Bruce Weiner, CitySide developer/owner, in the release. “Our residents are very excited about the i-Ride Sarasota service”.

Gotcha Ride is a division of Gotcha Media Holdings, a bi-coastal company focused on collegiate, event and community-based marketing, the release adds.

1 thought on “Free downtown city shuttle service begins on March 29

  1. Will the shuttle follow a route? Or does it go anywhere a rider wants, like a cab?

    Editor’s Note: The shuttle will stop at prearranged stops, unless stopping to pick up a hailing rider (at which point, presumably, other riders could disembark).

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