SARASOTA (WWSB) - With the new year, comes some new changes for the shuttle service in Downtown Sarasota.
Since March of 2017, iRide drivers have been picking up passengers in their six-seat electric shuttles and taking them anywhere in Downtown Sarasota seven days a week.
“I think it’s nice to have a free service whenever you’re out, especially because on a busy night Uber can be really expensive,” Rebekah Hartwell, a frequent user of iRide, explained.
However, these free rides will not be available for much longer. The city of Sarasota cut its losses with the downtown shuttle service back in August after spending nearly $340,000 to bring it to the area. Since then, the company has been funding it privately, but they’ve decided to change their ways and their name in the new year.
“It was very successful from a ridership standpoint, but a little hard to be sustainable,” the CEO and Founder, Sean Flood, explained.
“I get it because I’ve heard stories of homeless people and people taking advantage of the iRide, so I understand from a business standpoint and the city doing that,” Hartwell said.
Passengers won’t be stranded in downtown without a shuttle service. iRide’s parent company, Gotcha, will be operating the same type of rides but with a small cost.
“We’re going to decrease traffic substantially, and that makes livability significantly better for people who live there and for all the tourists that come to visit your city," Flood told us.
All rides within the 2 and ½ mile radius will cost a flat fee of $3 per passenger.
“If it’s only a few dollars to get home, it’s definitely worth it,” Tom Darby, a Sarasota resident, told us.
The last times to catch a free iRide shuttle service will be January 1st between 6 and 11 p.m., and January 2nd from noon to 8 p.m. by using the app or by calling 941-444-2585. Then the new Gotcha riding service will begin on January 10th. All the details on how to use that new service can be found here: https://ridegotcha.com/location/sarasota/