The Tampa Downtown Partnership is considering a pilot program to use LSVs for short trips in the downtown area. The rides would be free and designed to plug a hole in the public transportation system, namely the lack of transit options downtown and moving people between their homes and the nearest public transportation. The program would start with four six-seat electric LSVs that could be called via a smartphone app or a dispatcher. A recently awarded Federal grant will likely provide the funding for the project. The plan is not expected to generate much opposition from local taxi drivers because the rides are so short and not desirable from a taxi driver’s point of view. The pilot program is part of an overall effort to improve Tampa’s transportation options including recently adding a rental bike fleet and pushing to expand the streetcar system. The Partnership is a non-profit agency that contracts with Tampa to attract and retain businesses in the city’s downtown and Channelside areas. Learn more: TBO.com
Comment: LSV fleets for downtown transportation is becoming a growing market, whether it is provided by for-profit companies or non-profit groups trying to improve the local business environment. Some sell ad space on the vehicles to offset costs or turn a profit. However, there can be resistance from local taxi driver associations depending on the scope of the services provided, and in some cities there may not be any regulations in place for this type of service.