‘Golf cart’ shuttle service proposed for downtown Dayton

One possible version of the electric vehicles can seat six people; backer says they would be useful during festivals, and for hotel visitors and others

A local entrepreneur hopes to launch a new service giving downtown Dayton visitors and community members a fresh way to get around — rides in “souped-up” electric golf carts.

Tom Conroy, who is employed as a medical device sales representative, hopes the city of Dayton will amend its taxi cab regulations to allow people to obtain permits for low-speed, commercial “quadricycles.”

Conroy, who has lived in Montgomery County for 22 years, said he wants to offer electric golf cart transportation services in downtown Dayton to enhance connectivity, welcome visitors and promote the city and the region.

“I feel this asset is needed for downtown,” he said.

Conroy said he hopes to obtain vehicles similar to those used by Circuit, which is an electric “micro-transit solution” that offers shuttle service in more than 40 markets and eight states.

The carts are far from what you would see on an actual golf course. Conroy said his carts likely will be able to seat six passengers. A PowerPoint titled “Gem City Cart Rides” that was submitted to Dayton City Commission shows larger and smaller versions, some of them open-air and others enclosed.

Downtown has many festivals, events, amenities and attractions that bring people downtown but many visitors don’t know how to get around, Conroy said.

He also said hotel operators have told him that it’s hard for their guests and other visitors to arrange short rides from ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft and other similar companies.

He said the new golf cart shuttle service would help people get out and explore the city. Conroy said he’s used golf cart shuttle services before in other cities and had a fun, friendly experience.

Cincinnati has a golf cart ride service called GEST that serves areas including Over-the-Rhine and Newport.

The company also offers golf cart rides in cities including Detroit, Louisville, Las Vegas, Charlotte and Chicago.

Conroy said he hopes to launch the new service with two low-speed electric golf carts that initially would operate from about 5-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

He said he will be in contact with local hotels and the Dayton Convention Center to identify peak demand times. He said the carts likely would be in operation all year round, except when temperatures dip below 40 degrees.

Conroy said the carts likely will run between downtown and the area around the University of Dayton campus, which will include the Marriott along Patterson Boulevard.

The electric carts will not operate on city streets with speed limits above 35 mph.

“When a visitor from out of town comes on a golf cart I want them to go back home ... and say, ‘Man, Dayton is a cool town,’ ” Conroy said.

The Dayton City Commission this week had the first reading of an ordinance that would modify the city’s taxi cab regulations to create a permitting process for low-speed commercial quadricycles.

Rides could cost $4 to $6 for the first person in the party, with reduced rates for additional riders in the same party, Conroy said. The service may offer rental options with an hourly rate for parties, bar crawls and similar kinds of events.

Downtown Dayton’s transportation options continue to grow.

Visitors can use riding-sharing services like Uber and Lyft or rent out bikes using Link’s bike-sharing services. People also can use their mobile phones to rent electric scooters or they can take the free Flyer shuttle bus that travels between downtown and the area around UD.

Merrymakers also can pay for rides on the Dayton Pedal Wagon, which is a pedal-powered, BYOB vehicle with 15 seats that cruises around downtown, usually stopping at bars, breweries and restaurants.

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