Written by Peter Schorsch
The Tampa Downtown Partnership and Downtowner cycled a pair of Chevy Bolts into its all-electric fleet Wednesday, promising lightning fast access for plugged-in downtown Tampa commuters.
“Adding these vehicles to the fleet will reduce wait times, support increasing ridership demand and provide riders with protection from the Florida heat via air conditioning,” said Downtowner COO Travis Gleason.
The app company executive said the Bolts have enough juice to go 200 miles before they need a charge, which is more than three times further than the company’s 12 GEM vehicles can travel before they need to tether up to an outlet.
Having air conditioning is also quite a bonus, though Downtowner has gotten along just fine with its open-air fleet since launching in Tampa.
Company CEO Stephen Murray said Downtowner has given more than 100,000 rides since it launched service in Tampa seven moths ago, making it the ride-hailing app’s largest market.
“The collaboration with the Tampa Downtown Partnership was pivotal to seeing this project happen, and with their support, our service has lead to less dependence on single-occupancy vehicle trips, as well as greater accessibility to existing HART services,” he said.
Christine Burdick, CEO and President of Tampa Downtown Partnership, added that surging growth made it “clear to us that the fleet needed to expand if it was going to keep up with the first-mile, last-mile demand.”
That “first mile, last mile” transit is used as a complement to existing public transport options and sets the Downtowner app apart from the other ride-hailing services, most of which are analogous to grabbing a cab. Downtowner users ask for a ride with the app and are driven anywhere within the downtown area, free of charge.
Riders looking to demo one of the Bolts will need to rely on chance, however, since the app doesn’t give riders an option to pick their car or drivers, all of whom are also trained Tampa tour guides.