Starting Friday, visitors to the South Cape will have a new option for getting around.
The Nickel Ride, a free transportation service, will launch a fleet of three vehicles to operate within the boundaries of the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency. Available year-round, the eco-friendly service uses all-electric Polaris GEM cars, which can seat up to five passengers each.
“I think a big part of the South Cape, and what’s interesting about the landscape, is it’s not exactly walkable but there’s so much going on,” Judah Longgrear, the founder and chief executive officer of The Nickel Ride, said. “We want to be able to connect the dots for all that the area has to offer.”
Every ride is 100 percent free. However, the drivers do accept tips.
To request a ride, simply call 855-WE-R-FREE (937-3733).
In mid-December, an iOS app will be launched for Apple users, with an Android one to follow.
The majority of the service area will run along Cape Coral Parkway, from the bridge to Palm Tree Boulevard. It will consist of several blocks lining Del Prado Boulevard and the area northwest of the parkway and Coronado Parkway, as well as a section from Southwest 46th Lane to Miramar Street.
“Sixty-plus businesses make up the South Cape area. It made sense to use that as our footprint,” he said. “There’s always so much going on in the South Cape, we just want to complement it.”
The ride service will operate seven days a week. The hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
A ceremony and ribbon cutting for the launch will take place on Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. at BackStreets Sports Bar. Drink specials will be available, and patrons who use the ride service on the first day will earn drink tokens for BackStreets, Dolphin Key Resort, Tiki Hut Bar & Grill, and Dixie Roadhouse.
Also, riders who snap a photo and post it to The Nickel Ride’s Facebook page can win prizes.
“That’s going to be for our launch weekend,” Longgrear said of the photo sharing.
The Nickel Ride has been operating in downtown Fort Myers for about five months. In that time, Longgrear had his eye on the Cape as an opportunity for expansion when the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Associations reached out to him about providing the service in the South Cape.
“They were the ones that kind of turned it concrete,” he said. “They’ve been great partners.”
Longgrear estimated that it took about three months of working with SCHEA and local businesses, along with government officials, to set up the ride service. He is looking forward to the launch.
“We’re excited to be part of the South Cape community,” Longgrear said.
The Nickel Ride can provide its service for free through partnerships with area businesses.
“We have about eight partners, and we’re finalizing a couple more,” he said of the South Cape.
The company offers both interior and exterior advertising opportunities, along with marketing options for all businesses and budgets. For information, contact 239-218-9974 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have a bunch of different packages that work,” Longgrear said.
To find The Nickel Ride on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/Thenickelride.
BackStreets Sports Bar is at 915 S.E. 47th Terrace.