TAMPA (April 20, 2017) – When Tampa Downtown Partnership launched the free ride service Downtowner six months ago, Greg Minder, Chair of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, knew it would provide a valuable service to residents, the downtown workforce, and visitors.
“When Downtowner was launched on October 20 we knew it would serve a circulation and last-mile need for everyone Donwtown.” said Minder. “What we couldn’t anticipate was the rate at which it would be adopted.”
According to the 2016 Biennial Survey of Downtown workers and residents by Tampa Downtown Partnership and HCP, 25 percent of those surveyed had used the Downtowner as a mode to get around Downtown Tampa and rated the service with a 96 percent satisfaction ranking.
At the six-month mark, Downtowner and Tampa Downtown Partnership report serving 86,146 passengers with 101,192 miles logged. Because Downtowner vehicles are 100 percent electric, the miles driven equate to 41 tons of CO2 that were eliminated from Tampa’s air supply. NovaCharge NC-500, the chargers that power the vehicles, charge approximately 96 hours a day, collectively, to keep the vehicles on the road.
Given its popularity, many groups are curious about the future of the free ride service. “We’ve received several inquiries from local organizations looking to support Downtowner through advertisements on and in the vehicles,” said Karen Kress, AICP, Director of Transportation and Planning at Tampa Downtown Partnership. “We are actively looking for ways to enhance service in year two and for long-term stability,” said Kress. “When we see that the Marion Transit Center is a top drop-off location, second only to the University of Tampa, it truly tells a story of how this service is providing a first and last mile solution.”
A graduate of the University of Tampa, Downtowner CEO Stephen Murray is thrilled his company has become a major way for people to move around the city.