ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — The free electric taxi service in St. Pete Beach called Freebee, which began operating a few years ago in the Pass-a-Grille area, expanded its range this month to cover the entire island.
“We fund that 100 percent from our money here at the City,” said Community Development Dir. Michelle Gonzales, Community Development Dir. “We want people to just enjoy the ride.”
What You Need To Know
- The Freebee's range was expanded on Oct. 17 to cover the entire island
- Last year 87,000 people rode the Freebee
- Anyone can summon the Freebee by using the app, flagging one down or by calling 855-918-3733
The Freebee’s range was expanded on Oct. 17 from 75th Avenue north to the city limit at Blind Pass. The shuttle service began in the Pass-A-Grille area in December 2019. Last year, the service was extended north to the 75th Avenue off the Corey Causeway.
Gonzales said the free on demand door-to-door shuttle service has been very popular with residents and visitors.
“Last year, when we had the service up to 75th we did ridership of 87,000 people,” she said. “So, we moved a lot of people in that one year and we completed that with 40,000 rides.”
Gonzales said the Freebee helped ease traffic congestion and free up parking spaces on the popular island. The service costs the city $536,000 every fiscal year for four Freebee shuttles. The city is using money they saved on scaling back PSTA service to pay for the Freebee, according to Gonzales.
“It breaks out pretty fairly even,” she said. “But the way we’re delivering the service is more catered to the residents.”
Alli Brooks, 42, has been driving the Freebee for nearly three years and said the northern residents are excited to use the service.
“That’s all we hear is, ‘Thank god you guys are here,’” she said. “It’s just a quiet service with it being electric. Good for the planet. They love that.”
Brooks said her top runs are to the grocery store and to restaurants. She said dog owners like to use the service, too, because it’s pet friendly.
“I know a lot more pet names even then I do some of the people,” she said. “A lot of people, they’ll want to do a long walk and realize ‘Hey, I don’t want to walk back,’ or ‘We went too far.’ So, let’s call the Freebee.”
Brooks said driving the Freebee is her side gig. She really enjoys the passengers she meets, and it compliments her primary job.
“I’m a realtor with EXP Realty. So... it helps me be out and have something different,” she said. “Meet a lot of people. I know the area really well, and it’s fun.”
Anyone can summon the Freebee by using the app, flagging one down or by calling 855-918-3733. It operates from 6 a.m. to midnight every day.