BY MARIE PULEO | POMPANO BEACH NEWS REPORTER
A free on-demand shuttle service that will connect residents and visitors to various destinations in the beach area and along Atlantic Boulevard via golf cart was officially launched by the City of Pompano Beach this week.
In February, the City Commission approved a contract with Circuit Transit, the firm that is operating the shuttle service. The fleet consists of four electric golf carts, including one that is wheelchair-accessible.
The new shuttle service, called the Pompano Circuit, will go up and down the barrier island, as far north as the Hillsboro Inlet Park, and as far south as Terra Mar Drive. On Atlantic Boulevard, it will go as far east as Pompano Beach Boulevard and as far west as 22nd Avenue, near McNab Park. It will also go west on NE 14th Street Causeway to Alsdorf Park.
The shuttle service will run Sunday through Thursday from 10am until 8pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 10am until 11pm.
The golf carts will pick up and drop off passengers anywhere within the shuttle service area, including the Marriott hotel, the Residence Inn, Sea Gardens and the Beachcomber on A1A. Other locations include the Fisher Family Pier, the Pier Parking Garage and the restaurants in the Pompano Beach Fishing Village — the Beach House, Oceanic and Lucky Fish.
Pompano Circuit had a soft launch two weeks ago. So far, the most popular destinations west of the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge are Publix, Houston’s, The Foundry, Umberto’s and Big Daddy’s, according to Bob McClure, operations manager for Circuit in Pompano Beach. The shuttle service has received a lot of requests for pickups at residences.
“The reception we’ve received here in Pompano has been tremendous and has made us feel very welcome,” said McClure.
To catch a ride on the Pompano Circuit, residents and visitors can use the free “Ride Circuit” App to alert a shuttle driver to come pick them up. The “Ride Circuit” App, which can be downloaded online from Google Play or the App Store, also allows users to track the shuttles.
Pompano Circuit customers can also wave down the nearest shuttle driver as the golf cart is approaching, or head to a designated shuttle stop and request a pickup via the “Ride Circuit” App. Signage indicating the designated shuttle stops is expected to be installed in the coming week, said McClure.
Due to COVID-19, each Pompano Circuit golf cart can accommodate a maximum of four passengers. While no minimum number of passengers is required, the City is encouraging people to ride together. The shuttle vehicles have a special area in the back for luggage and other personal belongings.
The overall objective of the shuttle service is to reduce traffic congestion and emissions in the area, according to Jeff Lantz, the city’s parking operation manager.
If the golf cart service is successful, and there is demand, a second phase would be implemented using shuttle vehicles with greater seating capacity, possibly electric vans or trolleybuses. In all cases, low-emission or no-emission vehicles will be used, said Lantz.
The second phase of the shuttle service would run further west along Atlantic Boulevard, all the way to Old Town, City Hall, the Cultural Center and the future Innovation District. It could potentially go as far west as the Isle Casino, which is one of Pompano Circuit’s largest sponsors. This portion of the shuttle service may or may not be free, but a monthly fee or day pass could possibly be offered.
The plan is to have a park-and-ride hub at the northwest corner of the South Federal Highway and SE 2nd Street intersection, where people can park and connect to the system. This would provide a parking alternative for employees working on the barrier island. Another park-and-ride hub is planned for a grassy lot on SE 1st Street, between Hibiscus Avenue and A1A.
The City’s contract with Circuit Transit is for $750,688 over a three-year term. Circuit Transit, a nationwide company, has 10 years of experience providing shuttle services to neighborhooding communities, such as Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami and West Palm Beach. Circuit Transit’s other large markets are in New York and California.
Last year, the City was awarded an $833,000 matching grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to help fund the shuttle service. Additional funding will come from advertising on the golf carts.
“We’re delighted to be in Pompano, and we’re looking forward to serving the community for a long time,” said Jason Bagley, a partner of Circuit. “The City has been wonderful to work with.”
Bagley added that “it’s an exciting time to be in Pompano Beach with all the growth and attention on the city.”
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