This summer, those in Rehoboth Beach could be riding to their destination in style. Or at least as stylish as a stretch limo golf cart can be.
The Original Rehoboth Beach Shuttle is hoping to get off the ground this spring.
The shuttle is the brainchild of Mary Ann Slinkman and Sharyn Santel, who first saw a shuttle operation during a trip to Annapolis, Md.
“We’re like, ‘What’s that?’ And up comes the stretch limo golf cart, picks us up drops us off at our destination. We call it, it picks us up and drops us at home,” Slinkman said.
“Our eyes just said, ‘Bing!’ Always looking for a new opportunity in Rehoboth, we thought, ‘Oh, my God does this town need this,” she said.
Slinkman said she envisions the shuttle service as a way to pick up people around town and get them to the beach or to restaurants. She said the service would be door-to-door and would only be within the Rehoboth city limits.
Slinkman said the operation would be based just outside of town, going no further than the Henlopen Junction area on Rehoboth Avenue Extended. The vehicles used would all be electric.
“It’s a stretch limo golf cart; it seats eight people including the driver. The seat can raise up and become a luggage rack,” she said.
While the idea was received favorably by the city’s streets and transportation committee, Slinkman said the two biggest obstacles yet to be overcome are insurance and getting the OK from Delaware Department of Transportation. She said she hoped to flood DelDOT with letters of support to get the project approved.
She said she expected some pushback from taxi companies and the Jolly Trolley, who already ferry people around town. But Slinkman said there is plenty of business for everyone.
“I don’t think we’ll be competition for Jolly Trolley at all, or taxis for that matter, because we can’t shuttle outside of town. And Jolly Trolley has a regular route; we’re not going to have a regular route. We’re not going to be anywhere near Jolly Trolley," she said.
Santel said the shuttle has seats for up to seven people and can accommodate coolers and beach chairs. Slinkman said the shuttle service would stop after 10 p.m.
“I don’t want to put really intoxicated people in. That’s really dangerous,” Slinkman said.
The shuttle will cost $6 per trip, no matter how many people ride. Each driver is required to take a defensive driving class and get a chauffeur's license.
“A lot of our friends are saying, ‘This is fabulous,’ because they come into town and can’t find a parking spot. All they have to do is park legally on the outskirts of town, and we can pick them up, bring them and take them right back to their cars,” Slinkman said.
She said she hopes to have the service up and running by April 15.
“We want to get on the road and be visible, so people can see us and get to know us,” Slinkman said.
She said she hopes the shuttle service can be an asset for people who want to avoid traffic hassles in the summer – locals and handicapped people who can’t walk into town. Slinkman said businesses would also like the service because they will able to get more local clientele who tend to avoid coming into town during the summer months.
“We’re excited about it. We just have to get through the hurdles,” she said.
“We’re not only excited about it, but there’s a certain element of fun in it. Meeting all those people that come in during the summer – it's going to be a fun business,” Santel said.
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