It's one of those "why didn't I think of that?" businesses. Florida Free Rides drivers zip around on Clearwater Beach in souped up golf carts taking people anywhere within a two or three mile radius.
Kevin Martyn, one of the founders, calls it an "environmentally friendly taxi service."
Martyn and his friend, Jason Gibertoni, started the business about a year and a half ago. It started small with just two vehicles. Now they have six. They make their money from advertisements on the cars, and tips.
"Our busiest time of the day is dinner and after that the bar rush," Martyn said. "We also like to think of ourselves as enhancing safety. We know a lot of people are tempted to drink and drive but when you have a free ride why would you even think about getting in your car?"
Gibertoni brings the tourism experience to the team. He helped with a similar driving program in St. Pete Beach and wanted to start one in Clearwater. Martyn, who quit a consulting job in DC to move to Florida, says his favorite part about driving is meeting interesting people.
"Last year when the RNC was in town a lot of international delegates stayed at the Hyatt on the beach," Martyn said. "One in particular who used our service was the Libyan Ambassador to the United States. I personally drove him to a lot of events. We had hour long conversations about the downfall of the regime."
It's not always that exciting though. Sometimes they just bring tourists from the parking lot to the beach. The two had to jump through a lot of hoops to get cleared with the city but now that they're compliant the business keeps growing.
200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606
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